Safety Tips When Using A Ladder

Using a ladder seems simple enough but before stepping on one it is important to understand the risks of using it. Mis-using a ladder or having an accident on one can cause brain damage, paralyzation, or broken bones. It’s important that you get this right every single time.


Below we’ve provided some of the most pertinent safety tips for minimizing the risks associated with using a ladder. It’s important that you read through all of them and consult with the ladder manufacturer if you have any further questions or concerns. TGA Handyman Services LLC is not responsible for your use or misuse of a ladder based on this blog article.


Always Wear Slip Resistant Shoes


You should always wear shoes with slip resistant soles. It should go without saying that you should never wear open toed shoes on a ladder such as flip-flops.


It’s never a good idea to use a ladder barefoot because it’s easy to hurt your feet by dropping something on them while working. Being barefoot also makes it possible to step on a screw or other debris which could into a nightmare experience rather quickly.


Be Aware of Your Mental and Physical State


If you just gave blood or are feeling lightheaded, it would not be a good idea to climb a ladder. Always make sure you are aware of how you are feeling before you ascend a ladder.


Stay Focused


Do not let distractions get in the way of your focus while you are on the ladder. If someone calls you, do not look at who is calling. Silence the phone without even taking it out of your pocket if possible, or do not touch it altogether. You can always finish ascending the ladder (if you are on your way to the top of a roof for example) or you can descend the ladder and then place a return call in such an event.


If you see a wasp or other disturbing insect, animal, or material, do not panic. Decide swiftly if it is safer for you to descend the ladder, stay put, or to ascend the ladder. Remember that being bitten by an insect or an animal such as a mouse is likely less dangerous than falling off of a ladder.


Check the Weather


Never use a ladder in windy conditions or if it is raining or snowing.


Read the Instructions


If you can’t find the instructions for your specific ladder, search for them online by looking up your specific model. It is best to understand all features of a ladder before using it, especially if you have never used it before.


The instructions or ladder itself should also have a documented ‘duty rating’ which is the maximum weight allowed. Factor your own weight, your tools, and your supplies weight when considering whether you will remain under the maximum weight while using it.


Physically Inspect Your Ladder


Before setting your ladder against a building, or raising it up to stand on its own, be sure to inspect it. There should be no missing or loose pieces.


Set the Foundation of the Ladder Properly


Your ladder should always rest on hard floor and should never be placed on uneven ground. When resting a ladder against a building ensure it is stable by putting it one foot away from the building for every four feet of height you are setting it to.


Never place a ladder in front of a door or other location where something could bump into the ladder.


Move Deliberately and Slowly


Do not attempt to complete two steps in one go. Always step up the ladder one rung at a time. Your hands should always be connected to the ladder as you move one foot up to the next rung. Then as you move your next hand up, your feet should both be firmly planted on the step and one of your hands should still remain connected to the ladder. Every time you move you should be in contact with the ladder in three areas of your body. You can remember this as the ‘three-point contact rule’ of ladder usage.


Use a tool-belt so that your hands are free as you are climbing the ladder. You should also never attempt to move a ladder while you are on it.


Never Stand on the Top


Ladders have a label on the top that remind you not to step on it. The top of a ladder is place for maintaining tools and is not a sturdy step.