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The Rules of Ladder Safety

It’s reported that more than 300 deaths and over 130,000 emergency room visits are related to ladders each year.  As funny as it is to watch a beloved fictional character fall from a ladder, it’s important to remember they have stunt doubles and mats to fall on. You don’t. Make sure you and your loved ones observe ladder safety rules as you’re fighting leaves in gutters, hanging lights or prepping for winter.

OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) recommends following these ladder safety rules to avoid a fall.

Before Using the Ladder

  • First, you should read and follow all the labels/markings on the ladder.
  • Look up! Always look for power lines or exposed electrical equipment.
  • Inspect your ladder to make sure there is no damage or broken parts.
  • Be aware of the ladder’s weight limit.

Setting Up the Ladder

  • Only use ladders and their accessories (levelers, jacks or hooks) for their designed purposes.
  • Use ladders on stable and level surfaces unless you have secured it to prevent displacement.
  • Do not place ladders on boxes, piles or other unstable bases to get additional height.
  • An extension or straight ladder must extend at least 3 feet above the point of support.
  • Use the 4-to-1 Rule. For every 4 feet of height you have to climb, move the base 1 foot away from the wall.
  • Before stepping on a ladder, make sure all locks are properly engaged.

While Using the Ladder

  • Always maintain a 3-point contact on the ladder. You should always have either two hands and a foot or two feet and a hand on the ladder.
  • Keep your body toward the middle of the step and always face the ladder when climbing.
  • Do not stand on the top three rungs of a straight, single or extension ladder.
  • Do not use the top step/rung of a ladder unless it was designed for that purpose.