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Using Ladders

2_using ladders [Converted]You will use ladders for gaining access to higher levels. When properly used and cared for, ladders will provide many years of safe use. The two most common types of ladders are folding and extension ladders.

Folding Ladder

  • DO NOT use a folding ladder as a straight ladder.
  • Always face the ladder when ascending or descending.
  • Keep your eyes on the ladder; watch where you place hands and feet.
  • Always keep your belt buckle between side rails; no overreaching.
  • Stay off top step/cap of step ladders.
  • Never leave ladders unattended.

Extension Ladder

  • Check for damaged rungs and side rails; if you think the ladder might be defective, DO NOT use it!
  • If rungs or your feet are wet and slippery, clean and dry them before you climb.
  • Protect the base from traffic; if you place the ladder near a door or walkway, lock the door or have another person stand at the ladder base.
  • Use the 4-to-1 rule: For each 4 feet of distance between the ground and upper point of contact (such as wall or roof), move the base of the ladder out one foot 
  • Be sure all locks on extension ladders are properly engaged.
  • Stay off of the top two runs of straight/ex tension ladders.


Always inspect a ladder for defects before using! Remove damaged ladders from service and mark “Dangerous. Do Not Use.”


Each year there are more than 164,000 emergency room-treated injuries in the U.S. relating to ladders. (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission)