Step Stool Safety

November 2017

Step Stool Safety

A ladder-type step stool is a small portable ladder with flat steps that is self supporting and foldable. All steps can be climbed on since the side rails continue above the top step (see photo).  This type of step stool should be used for reaching equipment, shelves and cabinets in the ETA laboratory areas. The round footstools should not be used in lab areas since these do not provide adequate foot support and are not always stable. 

In order to safely use the ladder-type step stools, users must follow these precautions:

  1. Ensure the step stool is used on a level surface with solid floor support for all four feet. A step stool must never be placed on other objects such as boxes or other unstable bases to obtain additional height.
  2. Ensure the step stool is spread fully open and the spreaders are locked. Do not use in the partially opened position. Make sure the locking mechanism is engaged.
  3. Always check the step stool prior to each use. Look for damaged/missing parts, condition of anti-slip feet, and condition of climbing/gripping surfaces. If any damage is suspected, immediately place the step stool out of service and report to your supervisor.
  4. The anti-slip feet located at the bottom of each step stool side rail must be present and in good condition. Do not use step stools on slippery surfaces.
  5. When ascending or descending, always face toward the step stool.
  6. Set-up the step stool close to the work being performed. Work with your body near the middle of the steps. Prevent tipping due to over-reaching from the side.
  7. Never attempt to move the step stool without first descending, relocating the step stool, and then re-climbing.
  8. Store the step stool in a location away from excessive heat or chemical vapors. Do not store items on top of the step stool.
  9. All users of step stools must be assigned to a Work Activity that has the FAL0010 “Working on Stools, Stepladders, or Ladders at Heights Less Than 6 Feet” hazard and associated controls identified. Check your assigned Work Activities in the Activity Manager system.
  10. All users of step stools must complete EHS0278 “Ladder Safety” training. This is an on-line course:

Recommended ANSI 1A ladder-type step stools can be purchased on through the eBuy system on the Grainger site. Search for item #45WJ85.

If you have any questions about use of step stools or ladders, please contact the ETA Safety Manager, Ron Scholtz at (510) 495-8137 for assistance.