Technology ID

Extension-Ladder Safety: Multimodal-feedback Indicator for Improved Ladder Positioning Safety and Efficiency

Lead Inventor
Simeonov, Peter (CDC)
Hsiao, Hongwei (CDC)
Powers, John (CDC)
Occupational Safety and Health
Non-Medical Devices
Medical Devices
Consumer Products
Therapeutic Areas
Infectious Disease
Development Stages
Development Status
  • In situ data available (on-site)
  • Prototype
Lead IC
Improper positioning of an extension ladder frequently results in "ladder slide-outs," which are the most common cause of ladder-fall scenarios. This invention relates to an extension ladder positioning indicator which is easily installed in a ladder rung; provides multiple cues (visual, sound, and vibration) for rapidly identifying and positioning correct ladder inclination.

CDC-NIOSH researchers found that this technology improved accuracy and efficiency of ladder positioning for both "experienced" and "novice" ladder users, as compared to the "no instruction" method and the standard anthropometric method, and that it was also significantly faster than the bubble indicator method. When properly implemented, this effective and easy to use ladder positioning indicator will reduce the risk of extension ladder slipping and tipping and, ultimately, will reduce the number of fall incidents and injuries – benefitting construction workers, employers, contractors and workplace insurers.
Commercial Applications
  • Retrofitting existing ladders to provide automated, multisensory feedback for improved compliance with OSHA and ANSI ladder-angle safety guidelines
  • Ladder manufacturing companies
  • Construction contractors, retailers and insurers
  • Training tool to aid worker safety education and adherence
Competitive Advantages
  • Direct, multimodal user feedback reduces the time for accurate, safe ladder positioning compared to bubble-level indicator, anthropometric and sight- based ladder-positioning methods
  • Visual, auditory and tactile feedback provide increased efficient-setup and safety
  • Technology can be incorporated as an attachable, device which may be affixed to a ladder or integrated as an app for a mobile/tablet device
  • Automated feedback ensures ladders are angled to OSHA and ANSI safety specifications
Licensing Contact:
Mitzelfelt, Jeremiah