What Are Some Extension Ladder Safety Tips?


Quick Answer

When using an extension ladder, read and observe all safety instructions and warnings printed on it, including the ladder's weight capacity. Never climb a ladder if you and any tools you are carrying weigh more than the ladder's weight rating. Before extending the ladder, observe the environment and identify potential dangers, such as power lines or other sources of high-voltage electricity, icy or uneven ground, or doors that could open and push the ladder off balance.

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Full Answer

When climbing or standing on a fully extended ladder, never lean too far to either side, as this could send the ladder off-balance and cause it to fall. The safest way to climb is to keep your hips between the two side rails and maintain at least three points of contact with the rungs at all times. Keep the work area uncluttered, and minimize foot traffic around the base of the ladder to help prevent accidents. Secure tools and other items in a tool belt if you need to carry them up the ladder.

Try not to stand on the top two steps of an extension ladder, and never stand on the top rung or paint tray. Avoid storing tools on top of the ladder; they could fall and injure someone below, or could cause the person climbing the ladder to slip and fall. Don't lean the ladder at an overly acute angle against the work space. One rule of thumb is to keep the bottom of the ladder at least one quarter of the ladder's total length away from whatever it is leaning against. Always ensure that the rung locks are correctly fastened before climbing.

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