Basic Ladder Safety Tips

In Home maintenance tips, safety by Mark Goodman

ladder safety

Accidents in and around the home happen all the time, which is why today we are talking about ladder safety.

Among those injuries, Slips and Falls are the most frequent cause of injuries in the home.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year more than 10 million people suffer injuries on residential properties serious enough to require visits to the emergency room. Residential injuries account for more than 6 million homeowner claims each year. These injuries include falling from ladders and while on staircases, slipping on spilled drinks or oil left on garage floors and more.
Occasionally in our blog we talk about tasks which sometimes require the use of ladders, for example, cleaning of gutters.  So it is very important that we talk ladder safety!

Always choose the right ladder for the task, follow manufactures recommendations and adhere to the ANSI Duty Rating labeled on the ladder which indicates the maximum safe load capacity of the ladder (person, tools, and supplies). Generally, you shouldn’t be reaching higher than 3-4 feet above the ladder top. You shouldn’t be higher than four rungs down from the top when using extension ladders. Prior to using any ladder always inspect the ladder for any damage including but not limited to free from cracks and splits, corrosion, protruding fasteners and bent components of the ladder like legs and rungs, Make sure the ladder rungs and your shoes are free from oil/grease, water or anything slick and the steps rungs are firmly attached to the side rails of the ladder. All other components including the safety feet or in good working condition a placed on level ground. If you find anything that is not correct don’t use the ladder it is unsafe.

Portable Ladder Safety Guide
Falls from portable ladders (step, straight, combination and extension) are one of the leading causes of occupational fatalities and injuries.

  • Read and follow all labels/markings on the ladder.

  • Avoid electrical hazards! – Look for overhead power lines before handling a ladder. Avoid using a metal ladder near power lines or exposed energized electrical equipment.

  • Always inspect the ladder prior to using it. If the ladder is damaged, it must be removed from service and tagged until repaired or discarded.

  • Ladder Safety image from OSHAAlways maintain a 3-point (two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand) contact on the ladder when climbing. Keep your body near the middle of the step and always face the ladder while climbing (see diagram).

  • Only use ladders and appropriate accessories (ladder levelers, jacks or hooks) for their designed purposes.

  • Ladders must be free of any slippery material on the rungs, steps or feet.

  • Do not use a self-supporting ladder (e.g., step ladder) as a single ladder or in a partially closed position.

  • Do not use the top step/rung of a ladder as a step/rung unless it was designed for that purpose.

  • Use a ladder only on a stable and level surface, unless it has been secured (top or bottom) to prevent displacement.

  • Do not place a ladder on boxes, barrels or other unstable bases to obtain additional height.

  • Do not move or shift a ladder while a person or equipment is on the ladder.

  • Ladder Safety image from OSHAAn extension or straight ladder used to access an elevated surface must extend at least 3 feet above the point of support (see diagram). Do not stand on the three top rungs of a straight, single or extension ladder.

  • The proper angle for setting up a ladder is to place its base a quarter of the working length of the ladder from the wall or other vertical surface (see diagram).

  • A ladder placed in any location where it can be displaced by other work activities must be secured to prevent displacement or a barricade must be erected to keep traffic away from the ladder.

  • Be sure that all locks on an extension ladder are properly engaged.

  • Do not exceed the maximum load rating of a ladder. Be aware of the ladder’s load rating and of the weight it is supporting, including the weight of any tools or equipment.


OSHA Occupational
Safety and Health

U.S. Department of Labor (800) 321-OSHA

Additional Information can be found at Werner Ladder Company