July 01, 2019

Ladder safety

Whether you're dusting above the cabinets or clearing the gutters, a ladder may be just the tool you need. But each year hundreds of thousands of people seek treatment for ladder-related injuries. Some tips for safely navigating a ladder:

  • Safeguard from the start — Guard doorways and block any high-traffic areas to reduce the chance of a collision. Be mindful of weather conditions that may make outdoor ladder use hazardous, such as rain or high winds.
  • Set a strong foundation — Set the ladder on a firm, flat and even surface. If you must use the ladder on a soft surface, try placing a board underneath.
  • Angle appropriately — A straight or extension ladder should be placed 1 foot away from the surface it's resting against for every 4 feet of the ladder's height.
  • Climb carefully — Face the ladder while climbing and maintain three points of contact — either two hands and a foot or two feet and a hand. Grip the rungs, not the side rails, and don't climb with items in your hands. Wear shoes with good traction.
  • Stop before the top — Don't stand on the top of a stepladder. With straight or extension ladders, avoid going higher than the third rung from the top.
  • Avoid leaning and overreaching — Get down and reposition the ladder instead.
  • Ask for help — If you're not feeling...