Falls from ladders make up nearly a third of falls from elevation deaths nationally. Extension and Stepladders are commonly used in the construction or general industry, but they require understanding of proper use.

Using an Extension Ladder:

  1. Do not set your ladder in a walkway or door opening.
  2. Keep the area at the top and bottom of the ladder clear of cords, tools, and garbage.
  3. Always set the ladder on solid footing.
  4. Use a twenty-five percent (25%) angle on the slope of the ladder.
  5. When using extension ladders, the three (3) top rungs must extend beyond the landing platform. (Or the top of an extension ladder must be 36” (3 feet) above the landing.
  6. Do not lean to the side when on a ladder or you may tip over.
  7. Do not carry tools or materials on a ladder. If it is necessary to move material or tools up a ladder first climb up, then pull up the work with a hand line.
  8. Always use 3 points of contact when climbing a ladder.
  9. Only one person on a ladder at a time (unless the ladder is double-cleated).
  10. Always secure the top of the ladder to prevent it from sliding.
  11. Always face the ladder when climbing or working.

Using a Stepladder Safely

  1. Ensure stepladders are positioned on level ground and used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Do not use makeshift or home-made ladders or make repairs to a damaged ladder.
  3. Make sure all four feet of the stepladder are on a firm, dry, level surface.
  4. Be sure to clear the ground area around the ladder before climbing.
  5. Check the ladder carefully for any cracks or loose pieces.
  6. Only use stepladders ladders in a fully open position. Lock the side braces and cross braces before climbing.
  7. Do not use a stepladder as a straight ladder in a folded and leaning position.
  8. Always wear proper footwear with good tread when climbing.
  9. Do not stand on the top two steps of the ladder unless they are designed for standing.
  10. Keep your body centered on the middle of the ladder.
  11. Do not lean to reach items while standing on the ladder.
  12. Avoid lifting or carrying any heavy items while climbing up or down the ladder.
  13. Use a ladder made of non-conductive material for electrical work.
  14. Do not use stepladders to support work platforms.

Review Questions:

  1. How far should the top of an extension ladder extend above the upper landing surface?

1 foot

3 feet

6 feet

  1. Using the top cap and the step below the top cap of a stepladder is acceptable.

() True


  1. An extension ladder should be secured or tied off at the upper landing surface with a strong material, such as wire or rope.


() False

  1. Do not lean to reach items while standing on the ladder.

TRUE: As a rule of thumb, keep your belt-buckle between the rails.

  1. Do not use a step ladder in a folded and leaning position in place of a straight ladder.

TRUE: Step ladders should only be used in a fully open position with side braces and cross braces locked.

  1. Two stepladders can be used to support a work platform.

FALSE: Stepladders should not be used to support work platforms.

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