Ladder Safety Rules: The Do’s and Don’ts of Ladder Safety

Ladder safety is important because falling off a ladder can seriously injure you. Injuries from falls occur at high rates in the United States. Falls are the leading cause of nonfatal injury among adults 65 and older and are the third leading cause of fatal injury in this age category.

While these statistics include all types of falls, including falls from chairs, horses, and roofs, many fall deaths occur after workers fall off ladders. Falls from ladders are a major cause of death among construction workers.

It is important to use a ladder properly to prevent falls from ladders. For example, always inspect a ladder before using it, never use a ladder that is damaged or missing parts, and make sure that ladders are on firm ground.

Many fall deaths occur when workers climb onto roofs or other elevated surfaces. If you need to access an elevated surface that does not have stairs or a ladder built into it, do not climb on top of anything else to reach it. Instead, get someone to help you lift the item onto the surface, so you do not have to put your weight on something unstable or unsafe.

Ladder safety is important. Ladder accidents cause many injuries and fatalities every year, so it’s important to ensure you are using ladders safely. In this blog post, we will go over the do’s and don’ts of ladder safety. We’ll also provide some tips on how to stay safe when using ladders. Follow these rules, and you’ll be able to use ladders safely and avoid accidents!

The Do’s and Don’ts of Ladder Safety


Inspect your ladder before each use. Check for any damage or wear and tear.

When it comes to ladder safety, the most important step is always inspection. Before you climb your ladder, make sure you give it a thorough check for any damage or wear and tear. Even the slightest issue can turn into a major problem when you’re on a ladder—so you want to ensure that there aren’t any problems before you head up.

The best way to inspect your ladder is to give it a visual check-up: look closely at every inch of your ladder and see if anything looks out of place. Do the base, feet, and steps look sturdy? Do the rails feel secure? Is there visible damage? Be on the lookout for even minor issues, such as small cracks or scratches.

If you notice anything that doesn’t look right about your ladder, don’t climb it! It’s better to be safe than sorry, so get a new ladder before heading up.

Make sure the ladder is on a level, stable surface before climbing.

Working with ladders can be tricky, but you don’t have to be nervous about it. You just need to follow a few simple rules to ensure you’re using your ladder safely.

Before you even set foot on a ladder, make sure it’s on a stable, level surface. This will prevent falls, which are the leading cause of workplace injuries. When you’re working with ladders, it’s important to use them safely. Ladder safety requires more than just climbing up and down a ladder carefully. You also need to consider the stability of your footing before climbing any ladder.

Face the ladder when climbing up or down.

When climbing a ladder, always face the ladder. This rule applies whether you are climbing up or down the ladder. By facing the ladder, you will have a better sense of balance and be less likely to fall off the ladder. Additionally, always keep your hands free when climbing a ladder so that you can grip the rungs if necessary. If you need to carry something while climbing a ladder, use a bucket or tool belt to keep your hands free.

Use both hands when climbing.

When climbing a ladder, it’s important to use both hands to maintain balance. Hold onto the ladder’s rungs with both your hands to avoid falling and injury. You should also try to keep your body centred between the two sides of the ladder while you climb or descend.

For climbers attempting to gain over 7.5 m, guardrails and toe boards must be installed to protect against falling objects. Ladders with single support should be prevented from slipping or falling sideways by installing locking devices that prevent horizontal movement of the ladder.

Wear slip-resistant shoes when using a ladder.

Non-slip shoes are a necessity when using a ladder. Good footing when climbing up and down a ladder is essential because it’s often difficult to see the rungs properly. The risk of slipping off is much greater if you can’t rely on your shoes for traction and stability.

Not only can this cause injury, but it can damage property. Make sure you wear slip-resistant footwear when operating a ladder of any kind.


Don’t stand on the top rung of the ladder.

It’s a ladder safety rule we’ve all heard before, but it’s one worth repeating. Don’t stand on the top rung of the ladder. It might seem the logical place to stand when trying to reach something high, but it’s also the most dangerous place.

If you need to stand on the top rung of the ladder, ensure someone else is holding the ladder steady for you. And always use caution and good judgment when deciding whether or not standing on the top rung is necessary. Safety always comes first.

So next time you reach for something just out of your grasp, don’t stand on the top rung of the ladder.

Don’t lean too far to one side while climbing. Keep your body centred between the rails of the ladder.

It’s only natural to lean to one side when climbing a ladder. Your body is in motion, and your hands are busy pulling you up, so getting off-balance is easy. But that doesn’t mean you should do it!

When you lean too hard to one side, you’re putting yourself at risk of falling. The ladder is already unsteady—that’s why it has two rails instead of one—and leaning to one side makes it even less stable. You should always try to keep your weight centred between the two rails of the ladder for safety.

Don’t try to move a ladder while someone is still on it. – Never use a chair, stool, or another object instead of a Ladder.

Don’t try to move a ladder while someone is still on it. It may seem intuitive, but we’re all human; sometimes, we just forget to stop and think about what we’re doing! This can be dangerous for obvious reasons.

Never use a chair, stool, or another object instead of a ladder. It might be tempting if you just need to reach that one last thing on the top shelf, but if you were to fall off the chair or stool (or whatever else you might be standing on), then chances are good that it would not offer the same kind of protection as a ladder would in the event of an accident.

Don’t use a Ladder in bad weather conditions, such as high winds or during a thunderstorm.

Don’t use a Ladder in bad weather conditions, such as high winds or during a thunderstorm. If you must use a ladder in bad weather, take extra precautions to avoid injury.

Some More Ladder Safety Tips:

  • If you need to use a ladder in an area with the potential for electrical hazards, make sure the ladder is made of non-conductive materials.
  • Always use caution when working with power tools while on a ladder and follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions.
  • Never place a ladder on top of another object to reach higher heights. This is dangerous and can cause the ladder to fall.

Following these simple rules and tips can help you stay safe when using ladders! Always take precautions and be aware of your surroundings when working with ladders.

Additional Factors To Be Considered When Using Ladders

The following factors should be considered when using ladders:

  • Undertake as much work as possible from the ground. 
  • Ensure the equipment is suitable, stable, and strong enough to be maintained and checked regularly.
  • Ensure that a ladder can be justified and is the safest means of access given the work and the height to be climbed. 
  • The location itself needs to be checked. The supporting wall and ground surface should be dry, firm, level, and slip-free. Extra care will be needed if the area is busy with pedestrians or vehicles or the ladder is rested against weak upper surfaces, such as glazing or plastic gutters. 
  • The ladder needs to be stable in use. This means that the inclination should be as near the optimum as possible (1:4 ratio of the distance from the wall to the distance up the wall).
  • Wherever possible, a ladder should be tied to prevent it from slipping. This can be at the top, the bottom, or both, ensuring both stiles are tied. Never tie a ladder by its rungs. 
  • If the ladder cannot be tied, use an ‘effective ladder,’ or one with an ‘effective ladder-stability device’ that the suppliers or manufacturers can confirm is stable enough to use unsecured in the worst-case scenario, e.g., a ladder stays with an anti-slip device. 
  • If the above three precautions are not possible, the ladder stiles can be wedged against a wall or other similar heavy object, or, as a last resort, have a second person ‘foot’ the ladder. 
  • Weather conditions must be suitable (no high winds or heavy rain). 
  • The proximity of live electricity should also be considered, mainly when ladders are carried near or under power lines. 
  • At least 1 m of the ladder should be above the stepping-off point. 
  • The work activity must be considered in some detail. Over-reaching must be eliminated, and the storage of paints or tools from the ladder must be considered as any loads to be carried up the ladder. The ladder must be matched to work required. 
  • Take precautions when working on or near fragile surfaces. 
  • There should be protection provided from falling objects. 
  • Workers who use ladders must be trained in the correct method of use and selection. Such training should include using both hands during climbing, clean non-slippery footwear, clean rungs, and an undamaged ladder. 
  • Ladders should be inspected (particularly for damaged or missing rungs) and maintained regularly; competent persons should only repair them. 
  • The transportation and storage of ladders are essential as much damage can occur at these times. They need to be handled carefully and stored in a dry place. 
  • When a ladder is left secured to a structure during non-working hours, a plank should be tied to the rungs to prevent unauthorized access. 
  • Emergency evacuation and rescue procedures should be considered.
About Shehzad Zafar

Hello, my name is Shehzad and I am an occupational health and safety trainer with over 15 years of experience. Throughout my career, I have had the privilege of working in the oil and gas as well as construction industries, where I have gained valuable insights and knowledge on safety regulations and practices. My passion for safety has led me to develop and deliver training programs that are tailored to meet the needs of each individual organization I work with. I strongly believe that safety should always be the top priority in any workplace, and I strive to instill this mindset in all the individuals I train.

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