Project Summary

Setting up ladders at a proper angle and following safety guidelines is an effective way to reduce the risk of ladder fall injuries – a persistent hazard in the workplace and at home. The Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Ladder Safety app uses the latest safety research and smart phone technology to deliver free, innovative and easy-to-use ladder positioning tools, checklists, and guides into the hands of ladder users where and whenever they are needed. This app is one of the most highly downloaded apps for both Apple and Android mobile devices.

Project Team

Team Members
Peter Simeonov, CDC
Hongwei Hsiao, CDC
John Powers, CDC

Project Details

Ladder fall injuries are a major occupational and public safety problem that costs us billions each year. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) developed a Ladder Safety smart phone app that is designed to assist extension ladder users in improving their knowledge and practice of safe ladder use and thus reduce their risk of falls. Misjudging the ladder angle is a significant risk factor for a fall – if the ladder is set too steep it is more likely to fall back or away during use, and if it is set too shallow then the bottom can slide out.

The app features an innovative multimodal indicator, using visual, sound, and vibration signals to give feedback and help users to set up ladders at an optimal angle.  It also includes a set of easy-to-use interactive ladder safety tools with graphic-oriented information, checklists, and guidelines for ladder selection, inspection, accessorizing, and safe use.  NIOSH developed the ladder safety app based on its patented technology, innovative research, existing information from safety regulations and consensus standards, and input from industry.  The app is available in English and Spanish as a free download for iPhone and Android mobile devices.  It has been downloaded more than 18,880 times since its release in June 2013.

Additional Information


HHS Innovates is one of the ways we are building an innovative culture at the Department of Health and Human Services. HHS Innovates is a contest that recognizes and rewards action taken on good ideas. To date, HHS employees have submitted nominations of innovations for nearly 500 exciting new staff-driven innovative projects, and our employees have cast over 60,000 votes to select 42 finalists over seven rounds. This project is one of the finalists of HHS Innovates. Learn more about HHS Innovates.