at least 3 feet over the roof or platform edge. Securely fasten
straight and extension ladders to the upper support. If you
have angled the ladder properly and still have doubts about its
stability, instruct someone to hold the ladder before climbing.
If you’re using a stepladder, open it completely before you
climb. If you must use a stepladder near a doorway, lock or
barricade the door and post signs so no one will open it and
knock you off the ladder.
CLIMB WITH CARE
When you climb, always face the ladder and grip the
rungs of the ladder — not the side rails.
Never get on or off a ladder from the side unless it has
been secured to prevent movement.
Never climb with equipment in your hands. Use your
pockets, equipment belt or a tool pouch, and raise heavy
objects with a hand line. If you forget something, always
climb down the ladder to retrieve it yourself; don’t have
someone toss it to you. And never ask someone to climb your
ladder to give you supplies. It is dangerous to exceed ladder
When you descend a ladder, practice the same safety
rules. Face the ladder, keep your body square and hold onto
the rungs. Last, step off at the bottom rung of the ladder.
Never jump off a ladder.
THINK BEFORE YOU CARRY
Before you haul a ladder, evaluate the area where you’ll
be working. Ladders can be heavy and unwieldy. You could
strike another person or object or hit electrical power lines.
Make the ladder as compact as possible before transporting it. Carry it horizontally while tilting it higher in front and
lower in back. If the ladder is particularly long and heavy, get
a co-worker to help you carry it.
FOLLOW THE RULES
Ladder safety seems simple, but injuries and deaths occur
every year. Below are some ladder safety do’s and don’ts:
• Use the right ladder for the job.
• Inspect the ladder before and after a job.
• Read all warning labels carefully and follow directions
before you climb.
• Clean the ladder after each use to prevent dirt buildup.
• Wear clean, dry, slip-resistant shoes, and use ladders with
• Don’t stand higher than the third rung from the top of
• Don’t lean too far or overreach. Reposition the ladder
closer to the work instead.
• Don’t use a ladder as a bridge or scaffold.
• Don’t put a ladder on a box, barrel or other object to
gain additional height.
• Don’t use a damaged or unsafe ladder.
RESPECT THE WEATHER
Experts also warn about ladder use in bad weather.
Descend immediately if high winds, rain or other inclement
weather begins. Wind force can blow you off the ladder.
Rain can make the rungs and ground slippery. Bitter cold
can make metal ladders more brittle and can cause other
structural damage. If you encounter bad weather while on a
ladder, do not speed up to ;nish the job and risk injury. Wait
to ;nish the job until conditions are safe.
Remember, don’t let gravity get you down. Practice ladder
safety rules every time you climb to make your work easier,
faster and safer.
Art Sodermark is president of Platinum
Engineering & Safety Inc. Reach him at
352-267-8440 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ladder safety seems simple.
Nevertheless, injuries and deaths
related to improper ladder use
occur every year. Don’t take risks.