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How To Use Ladders Safely To Avoid Serious Injury - Five Major Rules To Follow

Mar 21, 2022 Brien Chua

A ladder is a household tool that most of us have used at one time or another in our lifetime.  How to use ladders safely depends on how we treat it.  Surely it seems like an easy task to climb up the ladder to change a lightbulb or put up those Christmas lights.  However, if you don’t use a ladder safely, this could result in seriously injuring yourself.  Statistics show that a lot of people end up in the ER because of falls largely due to misuse of a ladder.  Let’s talk about safety measures and tips on how to avoid getting injured when using a ladder.

Before you begin your next household task whether big or small using a ladder, please consider following these tips, rules and dos and don’ts on how to use ladders safely.

Five Major Rules of How to Use Ladders Safely

Here are five rules everyone must follow in order to use a ladder safely to avoid injuries. 

1.  Choose your ladder wisely

One rule of using a ladder safely relies on the type of ladder used for a specific job. Ladders are structured differently depending on what it’s intended for.  They come in various types, materials and weight capacities.  You should consider choosing the correct ladder suitable for that task at hand and/or in that environment situation. For instance, use step ladders for household uses, these ladders are built with quality in mind and made to last. If you're doing more heavier tasks you need to use an extension ladder. Learn how to choose a ladder for selecting the right ladder for you. 

2.  Inspect the ladder before using it

Never use a ladder that is defected in any way.  Before using a ladder, it should be checked for possible loose or damaged rungs, steps, rails, or braces. Also make sure the ladder is free of loose screws, bolts, hinges, and other hardware; you can easily fix these with your DIY tools and equipment. But if the ladder has a major defect that you can't fix at all, it should obviously be repaired or replaced before using it again.


3.  Carefully set up the ladder

This is a crucial part of how to use ladders safely.  If you risk any danger from misusing the ladder, it will begin with how safe the ladder is ladder is set up.  Any time a ladder is placed in a dangerous zone, you’re prone to injury.  Never place a ladder close to a door because it might open towards you.  Make sure to unclutter and clear the area where you are placing a ladder to avoid causing any interference.  Stepladders should be fully opened.  Straight ladders should be placed at a four-to-one ratio.  This means that the base should be standing one foot away from the wall or other vertical surface for every four feet of height to the point of support.  If you plan to climb up a roof or platform using a ladder, you must extend the ladder above the edge at least three feet and be tied at the top.

4.  Climb and descend ladders cautiously

When climbing a ladder, always face the ladder and use both hands to climb and descend.  Maintain your limbs on the ladder and carry any tools in a belt or maneuver them using a hand line.  In other words, when climbing a ladder, you must always gain control of the ladder with all your body support and never take your eyes off of it. 

5.  Use common sense when using a ladder

When climbing a ladder, always hold on with one hand and reach to far to either side or to the rear of the ladder.  Never climb higher than the second step from the top on a stepladder or the third from the top on a straight ladder.

Safety Tips on Using a Ladder

When working with a ladder, safety is paramount.  You must ensure all safety measures are followed every time a ladder is in use.  Here are three important tips on playing it safe working with ladders to perform your handman project: 


1.  Appropriate dress code

Wearing appropriate clothing, particularly when a ladder is involved.  Here are a few clothing items you should wear:

  • Proper footwear is important to avoid loosing your footing also, you won’t get injured if something falls on your foot
  • Wearing a helmet is recommended to avoid objects falling above you
  • Wear clothing that is not so loose because they might get caught on something as you’re climbing the ladder

2.  How to check the safety of a ladder

Always make sure that a ladder is safe with good conditions before you climb onto it to do your work and here are a few pointers:

  • Wear shoes that are free of any dirt or anything that might be cluttered at the bottom of it
  • The rungs on the ladder must be dry and free of anything that might cause slippage
  • Make sure to verify that the rungs on the ladder are tightened
  • Ladders made from wood must be in good condition without any cracks
  • If you’re using extended ladders, verify that they are locked in place

Dos and Don’ts When Using a Ladder

How to use ladders safely comes with dos and don’ts.  Please consider the following few things you should and shouldn’t do whenever a ladder is in usage for the safety precautions: 

  • When climbing a ladder, don’t try leaning over the ladder because it could tip over
  • Ideally you should always keep your hands gripped to the ladder in case you lose your footing causing you to fall
  • You shouldn’t climb too high on a ladder that you become out of reach from grabbing on to a rung in front of you. You should always try to hold onto something when climbing a ladder to brace yourself from falling
  • Never try hurrying up a ladder or sliding down it
  • Don’t jump from a ladder but if you must jump, check your footing before doing so
  • Don’t carry tools or materials while climbing
  • Always maintain a firm grip on the ladder while climbing
  • Place foot firmly on the rungs of a ladder to maintain your footing
  • If possible, wear footwear with heals to avoid slipping forward
  • Have someone at the bottom of the ladder hold onto it while you’re climbing

Here you have it, all the tips and rules on how to use ladders safely. Climbing a ladder to perform a task whether big or small (Using a ladder to clean hard-to-reach places) seems like no big deal but if you don’t exercise the correct measures, it could become a dangerous situation. Next time you are using a ladder for whatever reason, pay attention to all these tips and regulations to avoid injuries. Let’s play it safe!

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