Ladder Safety

By Josh Devore, Darragh Company

Taking the steps to ensure proper ladder safety is vital during any project. No matter what type, size, or brand of ladder you prefer, it’s important to follow their specific guidelines to ensure your protection. Safety first is key when using your equipment.

Before stepping foot on a ladder, make sure to evaluate its condition and check for anything loose, cracked, or missing.1 If your ladder fails in one or more of these categories, it’s time to repair or replace it. Also make sure that the ladder you are using is the correct one for the job. Review the guidelines listed on the sticker located on the side of your ladder. This will tell you how high the ladder extends, and how much it can hold. You want to stay within the guidelines of each ladder, so that you can use it in the way it was designed to be used, and at its optimal level.

If the job you are wanting to do is out of the ladder’s specified height range, use a different ladder, and do not overload your ladder with excess weight. Do not use a ladder that’s too small for a project. With all of the available ladder choices, you shouldn’t have to make one ladder work for every job or use it outside of its boundaries and safe working areas.

When using extension ladders, make sure to check for the correct angles to use by reviewing the safety sticker on the side. Do not force a taller ladder into a smaller area by extending the angle of the ladder. Using a ladder that’s too tall for a project is just as dangerous as using a ladder that’s too small. Put the ladder at the correct height and angle to prevent it from slipping. If you are using an extension ladder to get off of something tall, like a roof, make sure that it’s extended 3 feet above the surface that you are climbing onto. Also make sure that your ladder is firmly planted against the wall, and level with the ground – all feet must be making firm contact with the ground.

For all ladder types, even if you are only using them for a short period of time, always make sure that they are secure. If the ladder’s feet are not secured properly, then it could fall over and take you with it. Always make sure to face a ladder – never stand backwards as you are more prone to falling, and never stand on the top step. It’s extremely important to have three points of contact at all times when climbing a ladder: two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand.1 Using this method will give you the most stability.

Remember these steps to ensure your safety:

  1. Inspect your ladder for any imperfections before each use.
  2. Follow the safety guidelines located on your ladder’s sticker.
  3. Choose the correct ladder for each application.
  4. Secure your ladder correctly.
  5. Always have three points of contact.

For additional ladder safety information, visit:

Sources: “C.L.I.M.B. Academy”