Safe & Proper Use of Ladders

Working on a ladder can be extremely dangerous unless proper care is observed. Each year thousands of accidents are caused by improper use of a ladder or the conduct of the person on the ladder. Here are some tips on proper ladder use:


  1. Check the ladder for defects and proper working conditions.
  2. If a ladder is set aside because of damage, or is unsafe, it should be tagged. The tag should read “DO NOT USE, This ladder is damaged and unsafe.” Better still, fix it or throw it away.
  3. A ladder should not be used in a horizontal position as a runway or scaffold. Most are not built strongly enough for that.
  4. Use the 4 to 1 ratio when placing a ladder. The ladder should be placed so that its base is one foot away from what the ladder leans against for every 4 feet in height to where the ladder rests.
  5. Do not place a ladder in front of a door unless you make sure the door is locked or someone is there as a guard to keep people away.
  6. Plant the feet of the ladder firmly. Use special blockage when surface is slippery or movable.
  7. Watch where the top of the ladder is placed. Be careful about placing against glass windows, thin metal, stacked material that might topple or other surfaces that could slip or fall.
  8. If you run a ladder up to a scaffold, it should extend 3-1/2 feet beyond the surface of the scaffold to give extra margin for scaffold shift.
  9. Anytime you use a ladder to reach high places and particularly if there is wind or vibration, lash the top of the ladder solidly.
  10. Do not carry heavy loads up a ladder. Hoist them up on a line.
  11. Always face the ladder when climbing or coming down.

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