Tips for Safe Ladder Use

Going Up and Down Safely – Tips for Ladder Use

Families often use ladders in the springtime to clean out gutters or to perform general maintenance on the house, and in winter time to spread holiday cheer to the highest places, taking extra time to get those decorations just right. Unfortunately, people frequently underestimate the dangers associated with ladders. On average, 164,000 people make emergency room visits due to ladder accidents each year.

Here are some simple guidelines from UL to help you and your family avoid injury.

  • Each Ladder is Different
    Read the Instructions – The first step to using any ladder safely is to carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions. They will contain guidelines that help you use ladders more safely and effectively and also advise you about the weight and height limits of the ladder.
  • Choose Wisely
    Choose the proper ladder for the intended task. For example, if the ladder will be used near electrical sources, use a wooden or fiberglass ladder to reduce the possibility of electrical shock.
  • Inspect Before You Step
    Inspect the ladder before stepping on the first rung. Make sure the ladder has been well maintained, that the rungs are clean and all parts are intact — never climb on a slippery or shaky ladder.
  • Make Sure It’s Secure
    Setting up the ladder correctly may help prevent falls. When planting the base of any ladder, place all feet on a firm, level surface, not on rocks or boards. Spreaders, the devices that hold the front and back sections of a stepladder in an open position, should be completely open and locked before any weight is placed on the ladder.
  • Ladder Angle Don’t Overdo it
    When using an extension ladder, don’t place the ladder at too extreme of an angle.
  • Look for the UL Mark
    Always look for the familiar UL Mark before purchasing a ladder. This Mark means that representative samples of that product have been tested and meet nationally recognized safety standards.
  • Size it Right
    Always use a ladder that is tall enough for the job at hand. A great number of ladder accidents are the result of using a ladder that is too short.
  • Get a Belt or a Helper
    Don’t carry equipment while climbing a ladder. Invest in a tool belt or have someone hand the equipment to you.
  • Face the Ladder
    Face the ladder when climbing up and down; keep your body centered between both side rails.
  • Don’t Get Too Ambitious
    While up on the ladder, don’t overextend your reach. Make sure you keep your weight evenly distributed.
  • Never Move a Ladder While Standing On It
    Always make sure people and equipment are off the ladder before moving or closing it.
  • Never Stand On a Ladder’s Bucket Shelf
    Read and follow the warning stickers for highest standing levels

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