Climb your ladder safely with these 10 tips

February 24, 2022 by PEMCO Insurance
About 500,000 Americans fall off ladders every year, suffering injuries that require medical treatment, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. As Defender of Your Northwest, PEMCO wants to help make sure you’re not among them!

These 10 ladder-safety reminders from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Centers for Disease Control can help keep you safe as you tackle your spring gutter-cleaning and pruning chores:
  1. Check the ladder before you climb. Months of storage and jostling can take their toll on ladders:
  • Inspect for damage or cracks in rungs and side rails.
  • Look for missing or malfunctioning safety feet.
  • For extension ladders, test the latches that secure the extension when it’s pulled out to full length.
  • Buy a new ladder if anything looks worn or broken.
  • Discard (never donate) a damaged ladder.
  1. Choose a ladder that’s tall enough for the job. Make sure the ladder extends at least three feet higher than the roof or other surface you’ll be stepping onto.
  2. Don’t exceed the ladder’s warning label weight capacity. Consider your weight plus the weight of any tools or materials you’re carrying.
  3. Follow the 4:1 rule. Set the ladder’s base out by one foot for every four feet of elevation. Always place the ladder on solid ground against a secure surface and never in front of a door that can be opened. Consider staking the ladder into the ground, if possible, or ask a helper to steady the base.
  4. Never prop a step ladder against a wall to substitute for a straight ladder. Use step ladders only after fully opening spreaders and locking them in place.
  5. Keep your belt buckle between the side rails. You won’t catch it on the rails. Plus, you’ll keep the ladder balanced, preventing a tip-over, because you won’t lean out too far. Always climb down and move the ladder rather than stretching to reach something.
  6. Maintain three-point contact. Keep either one foot and two hands or one hand and two feet in contact with the ladder at all times.
  7. Always face the ladder when you’re climbing or descending.
  8. Never stand on the top rungs or paint shelf of a ladder.
  9. Avoid electrical hazards. Check for overhead power lines before carrying or setting up a ladder.
Download a free app from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to learn more. It includes help with ladder inspections and set up as well as a feature to measure whether your ladder is positioned at a safe angle. Get it at the App Store or Google Play.  

Share on social media

Comments on this post