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How to climb a ladder safely

A recent statistic has shown that more than 25% of all falls from height are from ladders. This often leads to bruises, broken limbs and sometimes even worse. The saddest part about this is it can be easily avoided if standard safety procedures are followed.
How to Climb a Ladder Safely

How to Put Up Ladders?

Placing ladders in the wrong position is the most common mistake that leads to injuries. Here is how to put up the ladder safely.

  • Make sure you do not put the ladder on uneven ground.
  • Place the ladder laying flat on the ground.
  • Push one end of the ladder against a wall.
  • Lift the other end of the ladder up and rest against the wall.
  • Set the right angle, by using a 1:4 ratio. Divide the ladder by four. If the ladder is 4 meters long, the base should be 1 meter away from the wall.
  • If the ladder is extra long, find a second person to help from the other end.

How to Climb a Ladder Safely

How to Climb an Extension Ladder Safely?

Here are the most important points when you’re about to use extension ladders. For safety tips on step ladders, scroll down.

  • Ensure that your ladder is fit and fully functional before using it. Check thoroughly for any loose steps or other defects.
  • When you place the ladder, be sure it is on an even and not slippery surface. Remember that just one swing can be crucial. If the ground is uneven, don’t put anything under the ladder, as it will only make it more unstable.
  • Always climb with a two-hand grip, facing the ladder.
  • Avoid holding a box of tools in one hand when climbing up.
  • Take one step at a time and don’t rush it. If the angle is not right, you should be able to feel some shaking. Get back down to fix the angle if necessary.

How to Climb a Ladder Safely

How to Climb a Step Ladder Safely?

  • Ensure the ladder is fit and fully functional before using it.
  • Never set up a stepladder on the uneven, or slippery ground.
  • Never sit or stand on the very top step of the step ladder.
  • Only climb up the front of the ladder, never the back side.
  • Don’t allow a second person to climb from the other side. There are special two person ladders out there, but if this isn’t one, let the second person only hold the ladder in place if they want to help.
  • Keep your hips within the two vertical rails.
  • Remove all tools and materials from the ladder before moving it. You really want that hammer falling on your face?
  • Never use a step ladder like an extension ladder by leaning it against a wall.

Never leave step ladders unattended, especially if there are children around. Remember your childhood and how fun it was to get on high places – today’s children want to do it too. So, when you’re done working, put the ladder away, or at least lay it on the ground.
How to Climb a Ladder Safely

What Not to Do?

The following basic precautions come in handy.

  • Never use the top two steps of an extension ladder.
  • Don’t work near electrical wiring, especially if the ladder is made of metal.
  • Don’t lean a step ladder to a wall, the way you would do with an extension ladder. They don’t work the same way.
  • Both step ladder feet should sit firmly on the ground. If the ground is uneven, dig some dirt out from beneath one foot.
  • Never place an extension ladder on slippery surfaces.
  • Always face the ladder when ascending and descending.
  • Use both hands to grab the rungs, not the rails.
  • Wear a tool belt or holster to carry tools and supplies in order to decrease your time going up and down.

Last modified on May 22nd, 2020 at 8:13 pm

How to Climb a Ladder Safely

A statistic states that more than 25% of all falls from height are from ladders. This often leads to bruises, broken limbs and sometimes even worse. The saddest part about this is it can be easily avoided if standard safety procedures are followed.

We at Fantastic Handyman decided to share the Do’s and Don’ts our employees follow while climbing ladders in hope to help others prevent injuries. The professional electricians on our team, as well as the expert painters and decorators know the dangers of using one, but do you?

Table of Contents

How to Put Up Ladders?

Placing ladders in the wrong position is the most common mistake that leads to injuries. Here is how to put up the ladder safely.

  • Make sure you do not put the ladder on uneven ground.
  • Place the ladder laying flat on the ground.
  • Push one end of the ladder against a wall.
  • Lift the other end of the ladder up and rest against the wall.
  • Set the right angle, by using a 1:4 ratio. Divide the ladder by four. If the ladder is 4 meters long, the base should be 1 meter away from the wall.
  • If the ladder is extra long, find a second person to help from the other end.

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How to Climb an Extension Ladder Safely?

Here are the most important points when you’re about to use extension ladders. For safety tips on step ladders, scroll down.

  • Ensure that your ladder is fit and fully functional before using it. Check thoroughly for any loose steps or other defects.
  • When you place the ladder, be sure it is on an even and not slippery surface. Remember that just one swing can be crucial. If the ground is uneven, don’t put anything under the ladder, as it will only make it more unstable.
  • Always climb with a two-hand grip, facing the ladder.
  • Avoid holding a box of tools in one hand when climbing up.
  • Take one step at a time and don’t rush it. If the angle is not right, you should be able to feel some shaking. Get back down to fix the angle if necessary.

How to Climb a Step Ladder Safely?

  • Ensure the ladder is fit and fully functional before using it.
  • Never set up a stepladder on the uneven, or slippery ground.
  • Never sit or stand on the very top step of the step ladder.
  • Only climb up the front of the ladder, never the back side.
  • Don’t allow a second person to climb from the other side. There are special two person ladders out there, but if this isn’t one, let the second person only hold the ladder in place if they want to help.
  • Keep your hips within the two vertical rails.
  • Remove all tools and materials from the ladder before moving it. You really want that hammer falling on your face?
  • Never use a step ladder like an extension ladder by leaning it against a wall.

Never leave step ladders unattended, especially if there are children around. Remember your childhood and how fun it was to get on high places – today’s children want to do it too. So, when you’re done working, put the ladder away, or at least lay it on the ground.

Check also:

What Not to Do?

The following basic precautions come in handy.

  • Never use the top two steps of an extension ladder.
  • Don’t work near electrical wiring, especially if the ladder is made of metal.
  • Don’t lean a step ladder to a wall, the way you would do with an extension ladder. They don’t work the same way.
  • Both step ladder feet should sit firmly on the ground. If the ground is uneven, dig some dirt out from beneath one foot.
  • Never place an extension ladder on slippery surfaces.
  • Always face the ladder when ascending and descending.
  • Use both hands to grab the rungs, not the rails.
  • Wear a tool belt or holster to carry tools and supplies in order to decrease your time going up and down.

Now you know how to put up a ladder and how to climb a ladder safely. The Fantastic Handyman team hopes this helped prevent at least a few accidents.

How to Climb a Ladder Safely

Stepladder Safety

Stepladders come in several sizes; the three most popular sizes used by homeowners are 4, 6, and 8 feet. Regardless of the ladder size, the following safety rules apply:

• First, when opening a stepladder, check to confirm that the two hinged metal braces, called spreaders, are locked down and straight.

• Never set up a stepladder on uneven ground. Each of the ladder’s four feet must make firm contact with the ground or floor.

• Tempting as it may be, never sit or stand on the very top step of the ladder. In fact, ladder manufacturers—and emergency room doctors—recommend never standing above the third highest step.

• Only climb up the front of the ladder, never the back side. Don’t allow more than one person at a time on a stepladder. (The exception is when using a specially engineered two-person stepladder, which has steps on both sides.)

• When working from a stepladder, keep your hips within the two vertical rails. Reaching too far to the left or right could cause the ladder to topple.

• Remove all tools and materials from the ladder before moving it. You really want that hammer falling on your face?

• Lots of people will lean a closed stepladder up against a wall and then climb it. But don’t. It can easily slide out from under you.

• It should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: Never stand on the paint shelf.

• Finally, don’t leave stepladders unattended, especially around children. When you’re done working for the day, or if you take an extended break, close the ladder and put it away, or at least lay it down.

Extension Ladder Precautions

An extension ladder provides the easiest, most convenient way to reach high areas around your home, but with greater heights come greater chances for more serious injury. So be careful.

• To extend the ladder, first lay it on the ground with its feet braced against the house. Then raise the top end of the ladder and walk it upright hand over hand. Once the ladder is nearly vertical, grab a rung at about thigh-high, lift the ladder slightly, and walk its base back away from the house.

• Once the ladder is in position, grab the rope and raise the telescopic section of the ladder, known as the fly, to the desired height. Be sure that both rung hooks lock securely onto a rung of the ladder, then tie off the end of the rope to a lower rung.

• To set the proper ladder angle, use a 1:4 ratio: Divide the ladder height by 4, then move the ladder base that far from the house. For example, if the ladder is 16 feet tall, its base should be 4 feet away from the house.

• Both ladder feet should sit firmly on the ground. If one foot doesn’t make contact, don’t stack blocks of wood beneath it. Instead, dig some dirt out from beneath the other foot.

• Never stand an extension ladder on wet, muddy, icy, or snow-covered surfaces.

• Don’t stand higher than the fourth rung from the top.

• Never set up a ladder anywhere near electrical power lines.

• Always face the ladder when ascending and descending. And use both hands to grab the rungs—not the rails.

• If necessary, wear a tool belt or holster to carry tools and supplies. That way, you’ll have both hands free when climbing up and down.

• As with a stepladder, keep your hips within the vertical side rails. Don’t overreach to the left or right.

• I don’t recommend climbing onto roofs, but if you must, be sure the top of the ladder extends at least 3 feet above the point of contact. When you reach the edge of the roof, grab the top of the rails with both hands, then carefully step around the ladder.

Ladder Ratings

Every stepladder and extension ladder carries a rating based on how much weight it can support. The rating system is divided into different types of ladders. For example, Type III ladders are designated for light-duty household use and can support 200 pounds. A Type II ladder is rated for medium-duty commercial use and can hold 225 pounds. Type I ladders are rated for heavy-duty industrial use and have a 250-pound limit. Type IA ladders are intended for extra-heavy-duty industrial use and can support up to 300 pounds. And finally there’s the Type IAA ladder, which is considered a special-duty professional ladder that’s capable of holding 375 pounds.

Note that all weight capacities represent the total weight on the ladder, including the person, tools and materials.

by Tyler Howell on March 12, 2020

When it comes to home maintenance, not every task happens at eye level. So whether you’re changing a light bulb or cleaning your gutters , a ladder is often needed to bring your project within reach.

You may not think of these jobs as particularly dangerous, but there’s risk involved any time you leave the ground – even if it’s only a few feet. In fact, falls from portable ladders are among the leading causes of work-related injuries .

To help avoid a fall during your next project, follow these tips on how to choose the right ladder and climb it with confidence.

How to choose the right ladder

Depending on the task at hand, some ladder configurations are safer than others. Most new ladders are designed for flexibility. But they can still come up short if they’re not the right tool for the job.

Here are some features to consider before making your ladder selection:

  • Size : A ladder isn’t much help if you still can’t reach what you need, so be sure to choose an adjustable or fixed ladder that reaches your desired height safely. The ladder should be high enough that you don’t need to stand on the top rung or step. Just be aware that the larger the ladder, the more difficult it may be to move.
  • Materials : Ladders are commonly made of fiberglass, wood or metal. Aluminum ladders are generally the lightest and strongest, but they shouldn’t be used near electrical hazards. Always select a material that’s safe to use in your environment. That means using fiberglass or wooden ladders when the job involves power lines or electrical equipment.
  • Duty Rating : This rating represents the maximum weight a ladder can carry based on its design and materials.
    Before using a ladder, add up your body weight and the weight of anything you’ll carry with you, including tools, clothing and gear. Then, choose a ladder with the appropriate duty rating and don’t exceed it.
  • Configuration: Different ladder types serve different purposes. For instance, extension ladders are great for accessing rooftops, while A-frame ladders are helpful for jobs inside the house. If you’re looking for versatility, choose a combination or articulated ladder. These ladders feature adjustable configurations and multiple locking hinges, allowing them to reach higher and fit into more spaces.

How to use a ladder safely

Choosing the right ladder is an important first step. But using it correctly should never be overlooked. Keep these rules in mind before you step onto the first rung:

  • Read the labels. Each ladder comes with warnings and safety labels specific to its design. Read all labels and markings before set up and check for any special instructions or features.
  • Keep areas clear. Avoid placing ladders in doorways where they can be knocked over. You can block or guard the door if there’s no other option, but be sure to keep areas clear for those getting on and off the ladder.
  • Lock it down. For any portable or extension ladder, applying weight to an unlocked joint could cause it to collapse. Even if the base feels sturdy, be sure that all joints are locked before climbing.
  • Inspect your ladder. Make sure your ladder is in good working condition before you use it. If you find bent and broken pieces, mark the ladder as unusable and dispose of or repair it.
  • Wear proper attire . Clothing and gear should help keep your hands free and your feet secure. Wear clean, slip-resistant shoes for increased traction and a tool belt to avoid carrying loose items up with you.
  • Mind the base . Always keep the ladder’s legs on a stable surface. Never place it on a box, barrel or other base for additional height. For straight or extension ladders, move the base further from the wall as the ladder’s working length increases.
  • Don’t lean. When climbing, face the ladder and securely grip the rungs. If a work surface is out of reach, avoid the temptation to lean or overreach. Instead, climb down and move the ladder to a better position.
  • Use three points of contact. If there were a “Golden Rule” of ladder safety, this is it: Maintain three points of contact with the ladder at all times. That means two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand, should always be touching the ladder until you’re back on the ground. Following this tip will help prevent you from losing your balance or tipping the ladder.

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There is a statistic that says more than 25% of all falls from height are from ladders.This often leads to bruises and broken limbs, and sometimes even worse. The really sad thing is this can be easily avoided if standard safety procedures are followed, but only few actually know them.

We decided to share the Do’s and Dont’s our employees follow while cleaning windows in a hope to prevent injuries.

How to Put Up Ladders

Placing ladders in the wrong position is the most often made mistake that leads to injuries. Here is how to place the put up the ladder safely.

  • Make sure you do not put the ladder on uneven ground.
  • Place the ladder laying flat on the ground.
  • Push one end of the ladder against a wall.
  • Lift the other end of the ladder up and rest against the wall.
  • Set the right angle, by using a 1:4 ratio. Divide the ladder by four. If the ladder i 4 meters long, the base should be 1 meter away from the wall.
  • If the ladder is extra long, find a second person to help from the other end.

How to Climb a Ladder Safely

These are all tips only about extension ladders. For safety tips on step ladders, scroll down.

  • Ensure that your ladder is fit and fully functional before using it. Check thoroughly for any loose steps or other defects.
  • When you place the ladder, be sure it is on an even and not slippery surface. Remember that just one swing can be crucial. If the ground is uneven, do not put anything under the ladder, as it will only make it more unstable.
  • Always climb with a two-hand grip, facing the ladder.
  • Avoid holding a box of tools in one hand when climbing up.
  • Take one step at a time and don’t rush it. If the angle is not right, you should be able to feel some shaking. Get back down to fix the angle in necessary.

How to Climb a Step Ladder Safely

  • Ensure the ladder is fit and fully functional before using it.
  • Never set up a stepladder on uneven, or slippery ground.
  • Never sit or stand on the very top step of the step ladder.
  • Only climb up the front of the ladder, never the back side.
  • Do not allow a second person to climb from the other side. There are special two person ladders out there, but if this isn’t one, let the second person only hold the ladder in place if they want to help.
  • Keep your hips within the two vertical rails.
  • Remove all tools and materials from the ladder before moving it. You really want that hammer falling on your face?
  • Never use a step ladder like an extension ladder by leaning it against a wall.

Never leave step ladders unattended, especially if there are children around. Remember your childhood and how fun it was to get on high places – the kids want to do it too. So, when you’re done working, put the ladder away, or at least lay it on the ground.

What Not to Do

The following basic precautions come in handy.

  • Never use the top two steps of an extension ladder.
  • Do not work near any electricity, especially if the ladder is made of metal.
  • Do not lean a step ladder to a wall, the way you would do with an extension ladder. They don’t work the same way.
  • Both step ladder feet should sit firmly on the ground. If the ground is uneven, dig some dirt out from beneath one foot.
  • Never place an extension ladder on slippery surfaces.
  • Always face the ladder when ascending and descending.
  • Use both hands to grab the rungs, not the rails.
  • Wear a tool belt or holster to carry tools and supplies in order to decrease your time going up and down.
  • Keep your hips within the vertical side rails, otherwise the ladder will lose balance.

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Gutter and roof maintenance requires homeowners to take the occasional trip to the roof with a ladder. Climbing a ladder can be dangerous, especially so if the roof is two stories or higher. Simply leaning an extension ladder against the side of the house is not enough. Proper equipment must be used — and in the correct manner — to safely climb up and down from your roof.

Install the ladder hooks to the top of the extension ladder according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Ladder hooks can be rented from tool rental shops and the staff may be able to help walk you through the proper installation technique.

Stand the ladder up and pull the rope to extend the ladder until the top of the ladder extends past the eave by several feet. Lay the ladder against the roof, ensuring that the legs of the ladder hooks lay firmly against the shingles. Check the feet of the ladder to ensure they are flat on the ground.

Stand with your feet against the bottom of the ladder and extend your arms. Your fingers should just barely touch the ladder. This is a quick check to verify the ladder is at the correct angle. Lengthen or shorten the ladder until the correct angle is achieved.

Climb the ladder one rung at a time. Use your hands to control your ascent. Lean slightly into the ladder as you climb to keep your center of gravity from shifting backward.

Wrap elastic stretch cords around each side of the ladder and secure them to gutter brackets. This prevents the ladder from sliding sideways or falling away from the house once you are on the roof.

Nail the 2-by-4 lumber to the roof with framing nails. The lumber provides a ledge to grab onto as you climb onto the roof from the ladder. Pry the wood away when you are back on the ladder and ready to descend. Hammer roofing nails into the holes left by the framing nails, then apply roof sealant over the nail heads to prevent leaks.

How to Climb a Ladder Safely

With an estimated two million ladders in daily use across the UK, it is perhaps not surprising that ladders account for around 40% of falls from height accidents investigated by the Health & Safety Executive in workplaces in the UK each year.

The use of ladders is by far and away the largest single cause of such accidents both in the workplace and at home.

We decided to share the Do’s and Dont’s on the use of ladders. While its best not to use them sometimes they need to be used.

How to Put Up Ladders

Placing ladders in the wrong position is the most often made mistake that leads to injuries. Here is how to place the put up the ladder safely.

  • Make sure you do not put the ladder on uneven ground.
  • Place the ladder laying flat on the ground.
  • Push one end of the ladder against a wall.
  • Lift the other end of the ladder up and rest against the wall.
  • Set the right angle, by using a 1:4 ratio. Divide the ladder by four. If the ladder i 4 meters long, the base should be 1 meter away from the wall.
  • If the ladder is extra long, find a second person to help from the other end.

How to Climb a Ladder Safely

  • Ensure that your ladder is fit and fully functional before using it. Check thoroughly for any loose steps or other defects.
  • When you place the ladder, be sure it is on an even and not slippery surface. Remember that just one swing can be crucial. If the ground is uneven, do not put anything under the ladder, as it will only make it more unstable.
  • Always climb with a two-hand grip, facing the ladder.
  • Avoid holding a box of tools in one hand when climbing up.
  • Take one step at a time and don’t rush it. If the angle is not right, you should be able to feel some shaking. Get back down to fix the angle in necessary.

How to Climb a Step Ladder Safely

  • Ensure the ladder is fit and fully functional before using it.
  • Never set up a stepladder on uneven, or slippery ground.
  • Never sit or stand on the very top step of the step ladder.
  • Only climb up the front of the ladder, never the back side.
  • Do not allow a second person to climb from the other side. There are special two person ladders out there, but if this isn’t one, let the second person only hold the ladder in place if they want to help.
  • Keep your hips within the two vertical rails.
  • Remove all tools and materials from the ladder before moving it. You really want that hammer falling on your face?
  • Never use a step ladder like an extension ladder by leaning it against a wall.

Never leave step ladders unattended, especially if there are children around. Remember your childhood and how fun it was to get on high places – the kids want to do it too. So, when you’re done working, put the ladder away, or at least lay it on the ground.

What Not to Do

The following basic precautions come in handy.

  • Never use the top two steps of an extension ladder.
  • Do not work near any electricity, especially if the ladder is made of metal.
  • Do not lean a step ladder to a wall, the way you would do with an extension ladder. They don’t work the same way.
  • Both step ladder feet should sit firmly on the ground. If the ground is uneven, dig some dirt out from beneath one foot.
  • Never place an extension ladder on slippery surfaces.
  • Always face the ladder when ascending and descending.
  • Use both hands to grab the rungs, not the rails.
  • Wear a tool belt or holster to carry tools and supplies in order to decrease your time going up and down.
  • Keep your hips within the vertical side rails, otherwise the ladder will lose balance.

How to Climb a Ladder Safely

Extension ladders: who hasn’t used one to access the roof of their home, praying every moment that it won’t fall back, slip to the side, or just buckle under your weight? A tool so common can still be extremely dangerous and the facts are alarming:

  • The United States leads the world in ladder deaths. Each year more than 164,000 people are treated from ladder injuries in the emergency room and more than 300 die from falls from ladders.
  • Most ladder deaths are from falls of 10 feet or less.
  • The number of fatalities resulting from falls from ladders has tripled in the past few decades.

Now, these are not work-related statistics, these are from all ladder use. The point is, ladders can be dangerous when not used properly and that applies both at work and in the home. So, what is the proper way to use a ladder?

Choose the Right Ladder and Inspect It

How high are you going? How much do you weigh? What kind of room do you have? Are there electrical wires nearby? All of these questions and more will be answered if you do the proper planning! The first way to ensure your safety is to pick the right ladder. The length of the ladder you buy is the maximum length it will extend to. It can be used at any height (in approximately 1’ increments) between the maximum length and half the maximum length (fully retracted). Know the height you are climbing so you can choose the proper ladder. Then, ensure it is designed to support the weight you intend to place on it. There are five classes of extension ladders as shown in the chart below:

Type IAA: Rugged

Type IA: Industrial

Type I: Industrial

Type II: Commercial

Type III: Household

When selecting the class of ladder you’ll be using, keep in mind that the weight limit applies to you AND all the material/tools you will have with you.

And, where are you using this ladder? Does the area lend itself more to a stepladder because there’s nothing good to lean your extension ladder against? Is the footing solid and level enough? Look for electrical wires in the vicinity. If there are any, avoid aluminum ladders and, regardless of type, keep all ladders at least 10 feet away from energized lines.

Once all of this is decided, get your ladder and inspect it. Never take for granted that a ladder is in the condition it is supposed to be in. Ladders get left in all kinds of weather, they get dropped, they get hit, and countless other things. Make sure that there are no dents in the rungs or other damage. Make sure they side rails are not bent or damaged. Ensure the safety feet are in place, as well as the ladder’s lanyard. Make sure the locking mechanisms are in place and all labels are legible. Make sure there is no slippery material on the ladder. And, if the ladder has been modified in any way, do not use it. OSHA requires that this inspection be done by a Competent Person, which means they must have the knowledge to recognize a hazard and the authority to correct it. If this is not you, then you must find out who your company’s Competent Person is and ensure they inspect it before use.

Set the Ladder Up Properly

Sure, now that you’ve got the right ladder you could just throw your ladder up against something and hope for the best, but that probably won’t end well. Take the time to set it up the way it’s supposed to be set up. Start by leaning the ladder at a 4:1 ratio. This means that for every four feet of height between the base and where the ladder makes contact with the structure you’re leaning against, the base needs to be one foot away. Like this:

How to Climb a Ladder Safely

A quick and easy way to tell if you’ve set the ladder up at (approximately) the correct angle is to stand with the tips of your toes touching the base. If you extend your arm and your fingertips are touching a rung then it’s about where you need it to be. This will help keep the ladder from tipping backwards as you climb it.

What kind of surface are you setting up on? See those swiveling feet at the bottom of your ladder? They have a purpose! If you are on a hard, flat surface, those feet should stay flat. The bottom of these feet helps your ladder to stay in place. If you are on a softer surface, you should tip those feet up and dig the tips into the ground to help secure your ladder.

Once you’ve established the angle and set the feet, secure the ladder. This could require somebody to climb it, so make sure you have a second person or more available to help steady the ladder while this is done. If you’re going to use an off-the-shelf product to secure your ladder, make sure that it’s OSHA compliant. Some stabilizers on the market, for instance, are not. It would be a shame to try to do the right thing only to fall short of compliance based on product selection.

Before you secure the ladder, ensure that it extends three feet above the level you are climbing. If you remember that rungs tend to be a foot apart, it’s easy to ensure your ladder is set up right with just a glance at the top. This three-foot rule gives a person descending the ladder from the higher level something to grab on to as they climb on without having to lean over at the edge of the roof. However, this three feet of ladder sometimes poses a problem because people getting onto or off of the ladder at the top have to work their way around the ladder itself. This transition does lend itself to accidents. There are products on the market called ladder extensions that allow the user to step through the top three feet of ladder rather than around. These products attach to the top of the ladder and are basically an extension of the side rails without the rungs. Remember, the point of the three-foot rule is to give the user a place to hang onto, so if extending the ladder three feet is not feasible, a three-foot-high handhold is required.

Finally, make sure the area around the base is clear. The last thing you need is to safely climb down the ladder, only to step into a hole or onto some debris and turn your ankle and fall.

Use it Properly

How to Climb a Ladder Safely

First, face the ladder. Don’t be fancy. Don’t be distracted. Just grab the ladder with your hands and ascend it while facing it. You should maintain three points of contact with the ladder at all times and your center of gravity should be between the side rails. In order to maintain three points of contact, you will need to keep both feet and a hand on the ladder as you reach up for the next rung or both hands and a foot on the ladder as you step up (don’t be nervous, this is most likely how you already climb a ladder). The key to this, though, is to make sure you are not carrying anything. If you need to bring tools with you, they should be on a tool belt, tool vest, or something similar.

Make sure the ladder is locked into place before ascending and always, whether going up or down, check the ladder’s stability before placing your weight on it. Don’t ever move or adjust a ladder while somebody is on it.

Too many people get hurt on ladders every year, don’t become one of them. Understand the tool and how it is properly used before you use it. Sometimes the things we take for granted are the most dangerous things.

First-time homeowner and TOH host Kevin O’Connor steps up and demonstrates how to work safely on a ladder

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How to Climb a Ladder Safely

How to Climb a Ladder Safely

Photo by Bevan Walker

First-time homeowner and TOH host Kevin O’Connor steps up

and demonstrates how to work safely on a ladder.

On a Stepladder

•Climb only the front of the ladder, never the back.

•Don’t climb higher than the tread that’s third from the top (there should two steps above you, including the top); never sit on the top.

•Keep your hips centered between the vertical side rails; don’t overreach to either side.

•Never stand on the spreaders or paint shelf.

•Don’t leave ladders unattended, especially around children.

•Allow only one person on the ladder at a time.

•Never lean a closed stepladder against a wall and climb it; it can slide out from under you.

On Extension Ladders

Moving an Extension Ladder

• To raise the ladder into place, lay it on the ground with the feet braced against the side of the house, then walk it upright hand over hand. Once the ladder is as close to vertical as possible, walk the base out to create the proper 75-degree angle.

• Dig out the ground to make sure the feet are level.

• Remove all tools and materials from the ladder before moving it.

Working on an Extension Ladder

• Don’t climb higher than the fourth rung from the top (there should be three above you).

• Never bounce or “walk” the top of a ladder to the right or left to extend your reach.

• Use wood or fiberglass—not aluminum—ladders anywhere near power lines.

• Your hands should be free to ascend or descend.

• Always face the ladder when ascending or descending.

• Wear a toolbelt, including a holster or hook for power tools, or raise and lower materials and tools with a rope.

• Keep your hips centered between the vertical side rails; don’t overreach to either side.

• Wear shoes with well-defined heels (not sneakers) and be sure shoes are clean before climbing.

Stepping onto the Roof

• Be sure the ladder extends 3 feet above the point

• Hold the ladder securely with both hands and swing one leg around to step off onto the roof.

• To get back onto the ladder, hold it and swing a leg onto the rung while facing the roof; never step over the top rung or attempt to go down with your back to the ladder.

Buying Guide:

Trying to pick the right ladder from

a 20-foot-high stack at the home center will leave you dizzy. We’ve answered some questions that will help you sift through the options.

What should the ladder be made of?

Wood: Economical and stable, though longer straight ladders can flex. Wood is nonconductive when clean and dry, but it is very heavy. Rungs or treads should be let into rails and allow for retightening.

Aluminum: Lightweight, rigid, and strong, but conductive (never use near electrical wires).

Fiberglass: Strong and corrosion- resistant, it is also nonconductive for use near electrical lines. But fiberglass is expensive and relatively heavy.

What do duty ratings mean?

Type III: Household light duty; 200 lb*

Type II: Commercial medium duty; 225 lb

Type I: Industrial heavy duty; 250 lb

Type IA: Industrial extra-heavy duty; 300 lb

Type IAA: Professional special duty; 375 lb

• *Includes total weight of user, materials, and tools.

How tall does your ladder need to be?

First-time homeowner and TOH host Kevin O’Connor steps up and demonstrates how to work safely on a ladder

Share this story

  • Share this on Facebook
  • Share this on Twitter

Share All sharing options for: How to Work Safely on a Ladder

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How to Climb a Ladder Safely

How to Climb a Ladder Safely

Photo by Bevan Walker

First-time homeowner and TOH host Kevin O’Connor steps up

and demonstrates how to work safely on a ladder.

On a Stepladder

•Climb only the front of the ladder, never the back.

•Don’t climb higher than the tread that’s third from the top (there should two steps above you, including the top); never sit on the top.

•Keep your hips centered between the vertical side rails; don’t overreach to either side.

•Never stand on the spreaders or paint shelf.

•Don’t leave ladders unattended, especially around children.

•Allow only one person on the ladder at a time.

•Never lean a closed stepladder against a wall and climb it; it can slide out from under you.

On Extension Ladders

Moving an Extension Ladder

• To raise the ladder into place, lay it on the ground with the feet braced against the side of the house, then walk it upright hand over hand. Once the ladder is as close to vertical as possible, walk the base out to create the proper 75-degree angle.

• Dig out the ground to make sure the feet are level.

• Remove all tools and materials from the ladder before moving it.

Working on an Extension Ladder

• Don’t climb higher than the fourth rung from the top (there should be three above you).

• Never bounce or “walk” the top of a ladder to the right or left to extend your reach.

• Use wood or fiberglass—not aluminum—ladders anywhere near power lines.

• Your hands should be free to ascend or descend.

• Always face the ladder when ascending or descending.

• Wear a toolbelt, including a holster or hook for power tools, or raise and lower materials and tools with a rope.

• Keep your hips centered between the vertical side rails; don’t overreach to either side.

• Wear shoes with well-defined heels (not sneakers) and be sure shoes are clean before climbing.

Stepping onto the Roof

• Be sure the ladder extends 3 feet above the point

• Hold the ladder securely with both hands and swing one leg around to step off onto the roof.

• To get back onto the ladder, hold it and swing a leg onto the rung while facing the roof; never step over the top rung or attempt to go down with your back to the ladder.

Buying Guide:

Trying to pick the right ladder from

a 20-foot-high stack at the home center will leave you dizzy. We’ve answered some questions that will help you sift through the options.

What should the ladder be made of?

Wood: Economical and stable, though longer straight ladders can flex. Wood is nonconductive when clean and dry, but it is very heavy. Rungs or treads should be let into rails and allow for retightening.

Aluminum: Lightweight, rigid, and strong, but conductive (never use near electrical wires).

Fiberglass: Strong and corrosion- resistant, it is also nonconductive for use near electrical lines. But fiberglass is expensive and relatively heavy.

What do duty ratings mean?

Type III: Household light duty; 200 lb*

Type II: Commercial medium duty; 225 lb

Type I: Industrial heavy duty; 250 lb

Type IA: Industrial extra-heavy duty; 300 lb

Type IAA: Professional special duty; 375 lb

• *Includes total weight of user, materials, and tools.

How tall does your ladder need to be?

1. Ladder Pre-Use Inspections
Never trust that a ladder is in good condition. Always inspect it before you use it. If it’s a wooden ladder, check the stiles (the vertical sides), and the rungs, or steps, for cracks or splits. Check the feet too, if applicable. Check all types of ladders- wooden, fiberglass, and metal- for loose or missing hardware or pieces. Make sure the stiles and rungs aren’t damaged in any way.

If you find missing parts or pieces, or a damaged area on your ladder, and you can’t fix it so it’s safe to use, then don’t use it. Briefly write the problem down in large, black letters on a piece of paper. Then securely attach the paper to the ladder. It will serve as a reminder to you that the ladder can’t be used safely. Plus, it will let others know about the problem so they don’t use it either. Then, borrow a ladder that’s in good condition from a neighbor or friend if you need to use it right away.

Later on when you have time, scrap your damaged ladder and replace it with a new, safer one to avoid falls and injuries.

2. Set Your Ladder Up Safely
There are two basic types of ladders that are normally used around the home. One type has two sides that pull out. The sides are then locked into place. These are usually known as “Step Ladders.” The ladder then stands alone on the ground. The second type of ladder is called a “Rigid Ladder.” It’s one long tool that’s set up against a building, tree, et cetera.

Before you can use a ladder safely, you must first have it set up correctly. Position the ladder so its feet are on the ground evenly. And, make sure the ground underneath the feet is firm. To test this, after you have your ladder set up, grab the stiles with your hands and climb up on the first rung, or step. Look at the feet of the ladder- they shouldn’t rock from side to side or from one side to the other. To prevent falls and injuries, the feet of the ladder shouldn’t sink down into the ground below them either.

Here are some other tips you should know about setting up a ladder safely:

1. Don’t use a ladder on a real windy day. Wait until the wind dies down before you set your ladder up.

2. Don’t set up your ladder on snow or ice. Use rock salt and a shovel to melt and remove the snow and ice first.

3. If at all possible, try to avoid setting your ladder up in front of a door. If it can’t be avoided, then have someone stand at the door to protect you and other from falls and injuries.

4. Never set up a metal ladder near electrical power lines. If you absolutely must work near power lines, to use a ladder safely, it’s recommended that you use a fiberglass ladder for this type of job. If the lines are 50,000 volts stay -at the minimum- ten feet away from the wires. If the wires are carrying a higher voltage than that, stay away at least thirty-five feet.

5. If your ladder is too short to do the job, don’t use it. Don’t try to raise it up by setting it on cement blocks or other materials. Instead, borrow or buy a longer ladder.

3. Climb A Ladder Safely
Now that you know your ladder is in good condition and you have it set up correctly, you’re ready to climb up, right? First, be sure you are wearing shoes or boots that have non-skid soles on them. Then, check the soles of your footwear to make sure there’s not mud, grease, oil, snow, ice, or other slippery materials on them.

To climb a ladder safely, face the ladder when you’re ascending or descending it. Grab the stiles with both of your hands and make sure you have a firm foothold before you climb up any higher.

Avoid falls and injuries by stepping on and off the rungs of your ladder; avoid jumping.

4. Use A Ladder Safely
If you must stay on the ladder to perform a task, stand in the middle of the rung. Don’t lean to one side or the other in an effort to reach farther that you can safely.

Ladders are generally meant to hold one person at a time. So, to avoid falls and injuries, limit the load to one person at a time.
To use a ladder safely, never stand on the very top of a ladder. Stand only as high as the second rung from the top.

And finally, never leave your ladder set up unattended. Curious children – and even pets! – can climb up a ladder faster than you may realize.

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    Take the hassle and expenses out of purchasing one-off titles by creating your own customized safety video package. All of Atlantic Training’s safety video training packages come with discount bundle pricing, bilingual video options, as well as training delivery format options. Our predictive training tool allows you to create your packages based on popular titles typically purchased together.

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    How to Climb a Ladder Safely

    Trailer ladders are relatively simple tools to use. However, more than 100,000 people a year are treated for injuries from falling off a ladder, according to The Consumer Product Safety Commission. With such alarming numbers, you cannot assume your workers are familiar with their safety ladders.

    Safety ladders can help your workers safely climb on or off their flatbed trailers, reach inventory in a warehouse, load cargo, or perform maintenance duties. To safely use ladders, your workers should know what type they need, the weight of their load, and how high they need to reach. The following are some tips to help you instruct your workers on how to safely and effectively use these important tools.

    Ladder safety guidelines

    Ladders should be inspected before anyone uses them. Look for hazards such as loose steps or nails, broken uprights, and damaged or worn nonslip bases. Slips and falls are likely to happen if grease, dirt, or other contaminants have built up on the steps or rails. For this reason, ladders should be cleaned regularly, even non-slip ladders. If a ladder has been broken, mark it clearly or get rid of it so no one else accidentally uses it.

    Place the ladder on level ground and if you notice that it is unsteady, do not climb. When entering or exiting a truck, it is recommended that drivers maintain three points of contact. The same is true when using a trailer safety ladder. Take hold of the side rails and take one step at a time when you are moving up or down a ladder.

    What not to do with safety ladders

    Workers should never overextend as they attempt to reach a high location. If their center of gravity is outside the rails or above the top rung, they can lose balance and fall. The ladder should be repositioned if necessary or a taller one should be found. Never fasten multiple ladders together to reach higher locations as this can cause severe injury. If a worker must get to an area where the ladder cannot provide access, a hydraulic lift should be used instead.

    Gateway Supply in Pampa, Texas

    Safety is a vital element in any workplace. When it comes to loading or unloading flatbed trailers, The Deckmate Ladder is a safe, effective solution to prevent slips and falls. If you would like more information about trailer safety, contact Gateway Supply in Pampa, Texas today. You can call us at (806) 665-7990 or Contact Us by email to learn more about our flatbed trailer safety ladders.

    When it comes to home maintenance, not every task happens at eye level. So whether you’re changing a light bulb or cleaning your gutters , a ladder is often needed to bring your project within reach.

    You may not think of these jobs as particularly dangerous, but there’s risk involved any time you leave the ground – even if it’s only a few feet. In fact, falls from portable ladders are among the leading causes of work-related injuries .

    To help avoid a fall during your next project, follow these tips on how to choose the right ladder and climb it with confidence.

    How to choose the right ladder

    Depending on the task at hand, some ladder configurations are safer than others. Most new ladders are designed for flexibility. But they can still come up short if they’re not the right tool for the job.

    Here are some features to consider before making your ladder selection:

    • Size : A ladder isn’t much help if you still can’t reach what you need, so be sure to choose an adjustable or fixed ladder that reaches your desired height safely. The ladder should be high enough that you don’t need to stand on the top rung or step. Just be aware that the larger the ladder, the more difficult it may be to move.
    • Materials : Ladders are commonly made of fiberglass, wood or metal. Aluminum ladders are generally the lightest and strongest, but they shouldn’t be used near electrical hazards. Always select a material that’s safe to use in your environment. That means using fiberglass or wooden ladders when the job involves power lines or electrical equipment.
    • Duty Rating : This rating represents the maximum weight a ladder can carry based on its design and materials.
      Before using a ladder, add up your body weight and the weight of anything you’ll carry with you, including tools, clothing and gear. Then, choose a ladder with the appropriate duty rating and don’t exceed it.
    • Configuration: Different ladder types serve different purposes. For instance, extension ladders are great for accessing rooftops, while A-frame ladders are helpful for jobs inside the house. If you’re looking for versatility, choose a combination or articulated ladder. These ladders feature adjustable configurations and multiple locking hinges, allowing them to reach higher and fit into more spaces.

    How to use a ladder safely

    Choosing the right ladder is an important first step. But using it correctly should never be overlooked. Keep these rules in mind before you step onto the first rung:

    • Read the labels. Each ladder comes with warnings and safety labels specific to its design. Read all labels and markings before set up and check for any special instructions or features.
    • Keep areas clear. Avoid placing ladders in doorways where they can be knocked over. You can block or guard the door if there’s no other option, but be sure to keep areas clear for those getting on and off the ladder.
    • Lock it down. For any portable or extension ladder, applying weight to an unlocked joint could cause it to collapse. Even if the base feels sturdy, be sure that all joints are locked before climbing.
    • Inspect your ladder. Make sure your ladder is in good working condition before you use it. If you find bent and broken pieces, mark the ladder as unusable and dispose of or repair it.
    • Wear proper attire . Clothing and gear should help keep your hands free and your feet secure. Wear clean, slip-resistant shoes for increased traction and a tool belt to avoid carrying loose items up with you.
    • Mind the base . Always keep the ladder’s legs on a stable surface. Never place it on a box, barrel or other base for additional height. For straight or extension ladders, move the base further from the wall as the ladder’s working length increases.
    • Don’t lean. When climbing, face the ladder and securely grip the rungs. If a work surface is out of reach, avoid the temptation to lean or overreach. Instead, climb down and move the ladder to a better position.
    • Use three points of contact. If there were a “Golden Rule” of ladder safety, this is it: Maintain three points of contact with the ladder at all times. That means two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand, should always be touching the ladder until you’re back on the ground. Following this tip will help prevent you from losing your balance or tipping the ladder.

    Stay on top of your investment

    You work hard to take care of your home. From needed repairs to cosmetic upgrades, it’s an investment that requires constant attention.

    With homeowners insurance from ERIE , you can rest easy knowing that while you’re looking out for it, we’re looking out for you. Because when it comes to protecting your home, we’re here for you from first question to final follow-up.

    By Travis Halsted, Loss Control Consultant
    As a member of the Loss Control Department, I conduct safety tours within different types of facilities that conduct a wide variety of different daily operations. No matter the type of facility, there is one piece of equipment that is always present. This one piece of equipment, while only having a few moving parts, is responsible for a great deal of injuries and fatalities yearly. The piece of equipment I am speaking of is a simple ladder. Ladders, whether step form or extension (single), can be a valuable tool but also an unforgiving one if misused.

    Since 2006 MTMIC has incurred costs exceeding 4.1 million dollars from falls from ladders and scaffolding. These injuries are broken down in 30 strain/sprains, 4 lacerations, 8 fractures, 1 dislocation, and 16 contusions. In addition to these injuries, there are other dangers when a fall from a ladder occurs. In the event of an employee working around electrical items, there is a greater chance that they could also be exposed to high voltage injuries. If there are shafts, or other protruding items, the falling employee may be exposed to impalement hazards. As working with ladders is often a necessity in the workplace I found it paramount that I discussed some aspects of ladder safety with you.

    There are several keys to safely working with a ladder. While each of these play a vital role in safe ladder usage practice, it is essential that each and every one of these aspects are considered.

    • Ladder Selection: Select a ladder that is the right length to safely reach the working height that is intended. Having a ladder that is to short can cause the employee to Climbover reach. Furthermore, ensure that the ladder is proper for the duty that you are completing and it is of the proper weight rating for the person using it. The weight rating should never be exceeded so it is vital to include the weight of the person climbing it and any tools and/or items that they are carrying into the total weight that the ladder will hold.

    • Ladder Setup: Ensure that before each use it is inspected for splits or cracks in any part of the ladder. Furthermore, check for any missing or broken rungs. When setting up the ladder ensure that it is on form footing and that it is fully open with the spreaders locked. Do not use a step ladder as though it is a single ladder. If you are using an extension ladder, ensure that its feet are one-quarter the length of the ladder away from the upright surface to be climbed.

    • While on the Ladder: When using a ladder an employee should never over-reach. Instead of over reaching the employee should step down off of the ladder and move it closer to the desired point. Not following this simple rule causes more accidents than any other while using a ladder.

    • Ladder Care: When finished with a ladder, it should be returned to its designated storage spot and secured, to keep it from falling. When placing it back in its storage spot, check it over for any damage such as cracks, breaks and/or bent rungs. The ladder should be stored out of direct exposure to the sun and kept in a dry space.

    Along with some of these safety bullets, it is vital that you train your employees on not only the safe way to work with ladders, but the hazards that could present themselves while on the ladders. Train them on proper storage, and to have someone help them carry and setup the ladder if it is too heavy or long for them to handle individually. If another employee is available to work with the person on the ladder then have the second person support the base of the ladder to give the person on the ladder some added security.

    If you need additional thoughts or ideas on ladder safety, please do not hesitate to contact your Loss Control Consultant.

    Using a ladder safely is very important when cleaning or doing any maintenance on your home. It is a matter of using your common sense and following a few safety rules, probably the most important of which is to pay attention and be mindful of where you are.

    Never rush setting up a ladder. Take care when you set it up, take special care as you climb up and down it, and take care when you lower the ladder and put it away.

    Even if you do all you can to avoid using ladders and use alternatives such as extension tools to reach up to awkward places, keep safety at the forefront.

    Look at ladder safety

    First off, make sure everyone knows what you’re doing. The easiest way to fall off a ladder is to have someone open a window where you’re working and startle you into falling.

    The bottom of the ladder – that means both feet – needs to be on a solid level platform, and solid ground isn’t enough when it comes to supporting a ladder. Ideally, you can set up the ladder on concrete – maybe a pathway running alongside your house. If you must set up over your flowers, put down a strong wooden board, wide enough for both feet of the ladder as support.

    Tilt the ladder fairly tightly up against the wall, aiming for an angle of around 70 degrees. Do not lean the ladder against a window or window frame. For maximum stability, it must be the wall. For a 6-metre (18 feet) ladder, that puts the ladder’s feet roughly 1.5 metres (4–1/2 feet) from the wall.

    Put a sandbag, or bag of garden peat or charcoal, or anything heavy in front of the ladder to help lock it into place as you climb. Having a second person assist you by holding the ladder can be a great help. They can also look out for passers-by or traffic. If you plan on doing lots of ladder work, think about buying a stabiliser platform from a DIY store.

    Stay flush with the ladder and face the wall all the time you’re on the ladder. Resist the temptation to stretch out beyond the length of your arm. Shifting around on the ladder may shift your centre of gravity and move the ladder out from under you. Accept that you’ll need to climb down and move the ladder a good many times to clean the outside of upstairs windows.

    Stay safe without a ladder

    If you want to avoid using a ladder at all, you can simply work from inside, cleaning as much of the outside windows as you can. Be careful, though, and be alert to the possibility that leaning out too far may make you overbalance and cause you to topple out of the window.

    Buy an extension pole for your squeegee, to enable it to reach upstairs windows whilst you remain outside on the ground. Using this awkward contraption is an acquired skill, however. There’s always a ‘more by luck than judgment’ element involved because you can’t accurately see smears on the windows from down below.

    Because you’ll be knocking off dirt and debris whilst looking upwards, always protect your eyes with safety goggles.

    When you replace your windows, give a thought to cleaning when you choose new styles. Sash windows that open inwards, rather than the traditional style that slides up and down, can make cleaning the exterior of the windows from inside a whole lot safer.

    Learn the essential steps before using, setting up and climbing a ladder

    Featured Topics
    • Before Setting Up a Ladder
    • Setting Up a Ladder
    • Climbing Up a Ladder
    • Featured Ladder Safety Checklists

    Published March 26th, 2020

    Working with Ladders

    Ladders are essential in the everyday activities of workers, particularly across the construction industry. Using a ladder can seem simple, but it is easy to overlook the serious risks. Faulty equipment, improper setup, poor training, bad weather conditions and distraction can cause serious injuries and even death. The CDC cites that 81% of fall injuries amongst construction workers involve the use of ladders.

    This brief guide will help you understand basic ladder safety tips and how to apply them before using a ladder, during setup and while climbing it. We have also included downloadable safety checklists you can use on your worksite.

    Step 1 – Before Using a Ladder: Is Your Ladder Safe?

    In addition to choosing the right tool for the right job, you should be confident that the tool is safe to use.

    Before using a ladder ask yourself if you can perform the task without working from heights. If not possible, choose the correct ladder for the required task and height. Check for tags and labels to know the use case of the ladder. Most importantly, inspect all parts for cracks, damages, bends or corrosions. Braces or ladder feet should be stable. Steps and rungs must be free from oils and dirts. Locks, bolts, rivets and other components should work perfectly. In case of any defects, label the ladder “Do Not Use” and report it to authorized people for repair or replacement.

    By performing regular ladder equipment inspections, your team will feel assured that the tools they are choosing are safe to use.

    Step 2 – Setting Up Your Ladder: Should We Work Or Not?

    There is no point in having safe to operate ladders if external conditions like weather, nearby hazards and setup are not assessed. These factors should be taken into consideration before we decide whether we commence work for the day.

    First things first, always conduct a pre-start meeting or toolbox talk with your team to discuss all worksite hazards present before starting working. All workers should be trained and qualified, and should be aware of the emergency procedures if something goes wrong when operating ladders.

    When setting up your ladder, choose the safest location and beware nearby hazards. Avoid working on a ladder during windy or wet conditions as this increases the chance of a ladder collapsing or causing slips and falls. Next, look for overhead power cables which could pose electrical hazards. Do not use a metal ladder if you think your work will involve the use of electrical equipment. Lastly, set your ladder only on even surfaces and if possible use a firm level footing.

    Your team should always keep the shift supervisor updated on any high risks observed. Aborting work for the day is better than getting the team in danger.

    Step 3 – Climbing Up a Ladder: Are You Ready?

    More often than not, we tend to forget the proper ways of doing things when we think we are good at it. Using a ladder can seem second nature to most, however improper climbing techniques or even a slight distraction can result in falls, serious injury or death.

    Remembering these 6 simple tips will help you minimize your risk of slipping or falling when climbing a ladder:

    • Be attentive by watching your steps.
    • Always keep yourself centered and use “3-point contact”. The climber must have two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand in contact with the ladder steps, rungs and/or side rails at all times.
    • Do not carry any loads or objects in either hand that can interfere with a firm grip on the ladder.
    • Do not pull, lean, stretch or make sudden movements.
    • Always use slip-resistant footwear.
    • Observe the one person at a time rule.

    Checklists: Essential Tools in Ensuring Ladder Safety

    Knowing basic ladder safety is vital to protecting yourself against fatal falls and other unforeseen accidents. Using a checklist can help remind your team to follow basic safety procedures. Perform pre-start meetings and site walkthroughs to ensure that proper ladder setup and climbing methods are complied with. Above all, improve your workplace safety by making sure that all workers are going home safely.

    iAuditor is the world’s leading inspection software app which allows you to perform better ladder safety inspections, improve workplace training and identify areas for improvement. Use your mobile device to evaluate the working condition of your ladder and how it is used. Get started with these free customizable ladder safety checklists.

    Ladders are tools. Many of the basic safety rules that apply to most tools also apply to the safe use of a ladder:

    • If you feel tired or dizzy, or are prone to losing your balance, stay off the ladder.
    • Do not use ladders in high winds or storms.
    • Wear clean slip-resistant shoes. Shoes with leather soles are not appropriate for ladder use since they are not considered sufficiently slip resistant.
    • Before using a ladder,inspect it to confirm it is in good working condition.
      • Ladders with loose or missing parts must be rejected. Rickety ladders that sway or lean to the side must be rejected.
    • The ladder you select must be the right size for the job.
      • The Duty Rating of the ladder must be greater than the total weight of the climber,tools,supplies,and other objects placed upon the ladder. The length of the ladder must be sufficient so that the climber does not have to stand on the top rung or step.
    • When the ladder is set-up for use, it must be placed on firm level ground and without any type of slippery condition present at either the base or top support points.
    • Only one person at a time is permitted on a ladder unless the ladder is specifically designed for more than one climber (such as a Trestle Ladder).
    • Ladders must not be placed in front of closed doors that can open toward the ladder. The door must be blocked open, locked, or guarded.
    • Read the safety information labels on the ladder.
      • The on-product safety information is specific to the particular type of ladder on which it appears. The climber is not considered qualified or adequately trained to use the ladder until familiar with this information.

      The Three Point-of-Contact Climb

      Factors contributing to falls from ladders include haste, sudden movement, lack of attention, the condition of the ladder (worn or damaged), the user’s age or physical condition, or both, and the user’s footwear.

      • Although the user’s weight or size typically does not increase the likelihood of a fall, improper climbing posture creates user clumsiness and may cause falls. Reduce your chances of falling during the climb by:
      • wearing slip-resistant shoes with heavy soles to prevent foot fatigue;
      • cleaning the soles of shoes to maximize traction;
      • using towlines, a tool belt or an assistant to convey materials so that the climbers hands are free when climbing;
      • climbing slowly and deliberately while avoiding sudden movements;
      • never attempting to move a ladder while standing on it;
      • keeping the center of your belt buckle (stomach) between the ladder side rails when climbing and while working. Do not overreach or lean while working so that you don’t fall off the ladder sideways or pull the ladder over sideways while standing on it.

      When climbing a ladder, it is safest to utilize Three Points-of-Contact because it minimizes the chances of slipping and falling from the ladder. At all times during ascent, descent, and working, the climber must face the ladder and have two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand in contact with the ladder steps, rungs and/or side rails. In this way, the climber is not likely to become unstable in the event one limb slips during the climb. It is important to note that the climber must not carry any objects in either hand that can interfere with a firm grip on the ladder. Otherwise, Three Points-of-Contact with the ladder cannot be adequately maintained and the chance of falling is increased in the event a hand or foot slip occurs.

      OSHA Ladder Safety Documents

      Agriculture: Protecting Workers from Tripod Orchard Ladder Injuries QuickCard New
      (OSHA 3705 – 2014) (English: PDF )
      (OSHA 3705 – 2014) (Spanish: PDF )

      Agriculture: Safe Use of Tripod Orchard Ladders Fact SheetNew
      (OSHA FS-3728– 2014) (English: PDF)

      Ladder Safety: Reducing Falls in Construction: Safe Use of Extension Ladders Fact Sheet New
      (OSHA FS-3660 – 2013) (English: PDF)

      Ladder Safety: Reducing Falls in Construction: Safe Use of Job-made Wooden Ladders Fact Sheet New
      (OSHA FS-3661 – 2013) (English: HTML PDF)

      Ladder Safety: Reducing Falls in Construction: Safe Use of Stepladders Fact Sheet New
      (OSHA FS-3662 – 2013) (English: PDF)

      Most homes and buildings have ladders for all kinds of maintenance jobs required around structures. Ladders are useful tools to have, but certain safety measures must always be obeyed to help prevent accidents. For example, always make sure that ladders or stepladders are not left out unattended. Ladders must never be left by themselves as children, passersby and even pets may find them tempting or accidentally trip on them.

      Ensure the safe use of ladders and you’ll help save yourself a trip to the hospital-keep safety in mind at all times when you are working on a ladder. It always pays to be careful as the slightest error in judgment could cause you to have an awful plunge.

      So whether you are a simply changing a light bulb, lopping off a branch over the roof or painting the walls, you have got to be just a bit more careful while on a ladder. It’s wise spending time setting up ladders efficiently. Make it safe before you climb up. It only takes a little time to provide that firm footing and stabilize it. Here are some suggestions to ensure ladder safety:

      Make thorough scrutiny of the ladder before using it. Inspect the rungs carefully and make sure they are not loose or skidding. Attach skid-resistant strips to be safe.

      Always watch out for signs of any cracks or splits. In case of bent rungs, make sure you repair them before you use the ladder. Bent rungs are very unsafe and should not exist above three feet.

      Take care to position the ladder so that the distance between the base and the wall is a minimum of one-quarter of the ladder’s length up to the point of support.

      Extension ladders provide additional reach but you must ensure that when you open them, there is at least three feet of overlap. Also be very sure to click shut the rung locks to engage them properly.

      Whenever you climb up and down the ladder, have your face towards the ladder. Also, keep at least one hand on the rails at all times. In cases where you need both hands to do a job, secure yourself firmly to the ladder.

      Stepladders should not be opened halfway up. They ought to be fully opened and the braces should be locked tightly.

      You should always ensure that the feet of the ladder are always on a dry, even surface. Wet and uneven surfaces can be very hazardous.

      Never use an aluminum ladder near live electrical sources.

      See that you climb only as high as the ladder is designed to go up. Under no circumstance should you ever climb past the final rung; where your hips are above the top of the ladder.

      Remember to store tools or smaller equipment in your back pockets or your tool belt. This way you will not have to climb up and down too often.

      At no point in time should you allow more than one person on a ladder. Also, avoid having someone stand directly beneath you while you are on the ladder in case you drop anything.

      Most ladders come with written instructions on them advising you exactly how to use them. It’s always a good idea to read these warnings and follow them closely.

      Even if using a ladder is second nature, one mix-up or false step can cause an accident that results in serious injury. This is why it’s so important to fully understand the steps you can follow to maintain your safety at all times.

      For example, if you work as a painter or construction worker, there won’t be many days that pass when you don’t use a ladder in some way, shape or form. These five tips will help you maintain a high level of safety:

      • Don’t use a ladder if you’re exhausted: It’s the end of the day, your legs feel like concrete and you’re having a hard enough time walking. Even if you need to use a ladder, it’s best to reconsider until you have the energy to do so.
      • Keep an eye on the sky: You never want to find yourself on a ladder in inclement weather, such as when the wind picks up or the snow begins to fall.
      • Keep three points of contact: Two feet and one hand or one foot and two hands. This helps you maintain your stability as you’re climbing, regardless of the height.
      • Don’t skip rungs: You’re in a hurry so you decide to take bigger steps, thus skipping rungs on your way to the top of the ladder. This increases the likelihood of losing track of where you are, which could lead to an accident. Take it one step at a time, even if you’re in a hurry.
      • Don’t carry a heavy load: There are better ways to transport items to height, such as a pulley system. Carrying a heavy load while climbing a ladder increases the risk of being pulled off the side.

      Even if you follow these safety tips, among others, you could still suffer an injury in a workplace ladder accident.

      The first thing you should do is examine your injury and formulate a plan on what to do next. From there, report the incident to your employer, if possible, so they understand exactly what happened.

      After you receive medical treatment and understand your prognosis, it’s easier to decide if you’re in position to obtain workers’ compensation benefits until you recover enough to return to work.

      How to Climb a Ladder Safely

      Because stepladders are such a common tool, even in the home, it is often taken for granted that employees know how to properly use them. This is a dangerous assumption. Most people don’t thoroughly inspect their ladders at home and many wouldn’t know what to look for if they did. Many people take risks at home that could get them injured or worse. If they do that at home, chances are they’ll do it on the job, too. Here is what your employees need to know:

      Do I Have the Right Ladder?

      Ladders aren’t one size fits all. Obviously, a 14’ ladder is going to allow you higher reach than an 8’ ladder, but it’s also going to require extra room to be properly set up. Different ladders are going to support different weights (more on this later). Aluminum ladders shouldn’t be used in situations where there is the possibility of coming into contact with electrical components, live wires, or even of being exposed to lightning. Many companies have policies against aluminum ladders (and some have policies against ladders altogether). Do your employees even know what your policies are?

      What Can My Ladder Hold?

      Stepladders are broken down into different classifications, cleverly named Type I (which is further broken down), Type II, and Type III. Each has a maximum height and maximum weight:

      Type I: Industrial Stepladders

      Type IA: Industrial Stepladders

      Type IAA: Industrial Stepladders

      Type II: Commercial Stepladders

      Type III: Household Stepladders

      This means that your weight plus the weight of all of the tools/materials you have with you cannot exceed the listed limits.

      How High Can I Go?

      Take a look at your ladder. See that sticker that says, “Do not stand on or above this step.”? If we look at that sticker, then do some quick calculations….carry the one….move the decimal…then we can deduce that it means we should not stand ON OR ABOVE THAT STEP. Plain and simple. This does not mean that you cannot stand on or above that step unless you really need to. This does not mean you cannot stand on or above that step unless you have really good balance. It does not mean you can stand ON but not ABOVE that step. It means do not stand on or above that step. If this is still confusing, the label on the side rail of your ladder with all of the ladder specs should give you the maximum height to which you are allowed to climb. This should match up with what the “Do not stand on or above this step” sticker is telling you. Now, if for some reason, you looked at your ladder and said, “Hmm. I get what he’s saying, but I don’t see any labels,” then take the ladder out of service. Your ladder must be properly labeled with the necessary information in order to be used.
      Now, due to this climbing restriction, you will not be able to climb a ladder all the way to the tippy-top (that’s the scientific name for it) and step off onto a higher level. Where feasible, use an extension ladder to access higher levels, but if you must use a step ladder, ensure that it extends at least 3’ above the level you are climbing to and is secured so as not to move when stepping on or off, just as you would an extension ladder.

      Ladder Position

      One of the most frequent violations I’ve noticed in my career when it comes to stepladders is not workers climbing too high on the ladder, but workers keeping the ladder folded and leaning it against a surface to gain access to their work. This is not how stepladders are designed to be used and therefore you cannot use them this way. Any time you use a stepladder it must be fully opened and locked into place. Remember, ladder loads are tested by the manufacturer only when being used the way they are intended to be used. Once you work outside of the manufacturer’s intentions, you increase the risk of the ladder falling.
      In addition, your ladder must be on a firm, level surface. If you look at your stepladder and have to tilt your head to make it look straight, you’ve set it up improperly. If necessary, move your ladder to a more level, stable surface, or level out the surface it is on, but do not make any attempt to climb a ladder that is not level. If there is debris at the base of the ladder, don’t just plant the ladder down on it and hope for the best, clear it out. Even if the debris isn’t under the ladder itself, you must keep the area around the base of the ladder clear so that your users have safe access.

      Body Position

      Besides the restrictions placed on the height to which you can climb and the weight restrictions designated by the ladder class that we discussed earlier, there are two simple rules for maintaining the proper body position on a ladder:

      When ascending or descending, ensure that you are maintaining three points of contact. In other words, at least one of your hands must be in contact with the ladder at all times. If you are carrying anything, even in just one hand, that prevents you from maintaining three points of contact, or that can cause you to lose your balance and fall, then you must find another way to get that material/tool where it needs to go.

      When climbing a ladder and/or working from a ladder, keep your center of gravity between the side rails. Overextending to either side of the ladder could cause it to shift and fall.

      Inspect, Inspect, Inspect

      In case the header of this section was unclear, you need to inspect your ladder. Not once a year. Not once a month. Not once a week. You need to inspect your ladder every single time you use it. Things happen all the time when you’re not working. Maybe somebody dropped something on your ladder or knocked it over when you were away. Maybe it got banged around in storage. Whatever the situation, you cannot leave your safety to chance. Inspect the ladder before using it.

      Yes, ladders are commonplace, but unfortunately, so are ladder accidents. Take every precaution when using stepladders to ensure that you do not end up among the ladder casualty statistics. Set it up, use it, and maintain it properly whether you’re at work or at home. Don’t let a simple task turn into a tragedy.