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Ladder Safety Tips


Falls are by far the leading cause of home injury deaths. The safest way to climb indoors and out is to use a safe and sturdy ladder. Whether you're spring cleaning, hanging decorations or painting, the same basic ladder safety rules apply:

  • Always use a sturdy ladder when climbing. It's too dangerous to climb on a chair.
  • Place the ladder on level ground and open it completely. Make sure all locks are in place.
  • Always face the ladder when climbing and wear slip-resistant shoes, such as those with rubber soles.
  • Keep your body centered on the ladder and test your safety by your belt buckle. If your buckle passes beyond the ladder rail, you are reaching too far. This can cause a fall.
  • Stand at or below the highest safe standing level on a ladder. For a stepladder, the safe standing level is the second rung from the top.

Using an Extension Ladder

  • Before using a ladder outdoors, choose a location that is well away from all power lines. Coming in contact with live wires can be deadly.
  • Place the ladder on level ground and open it completely. Make sure all locks are in place.
  • Use the 4-to-1 rule for extension ladders. For each 4 feet of distance between the ground and the upper point of contact (such as the wall or roof), move the base of the ladder out 1 foot.
  • Always face the ladder when climbing and wear slip-resistant shoes, such as those with rubber soles.
  • Make sure rungs are dry before using the ladder.
  • Keep your body centered on the ladder and test your safety by your belt buckle. If your buckle passes beyond the ladder rail, you are reaching too far. This can cause a fall.
  • Stand at or below the highest safe standing level on a ladder. For an extension ladder, the safe standing level is the fourth rung from the top.