Material Handling Experts


Ladder Safety & Usage Guide

A ladder is a tool like any other. If it is used properly and according to safety guidelines, it will give many years of trouble-free service. However, if proper cautions are not taken, a ladder can be involved in an accident. Please read and follow all instructions and labels accompanying each ladder.

Two factors that deserve particular attention are proper ladder selection and electrical shock precautions.

Pay close attention to the Duty Rating of the ladder and the combined weight of the user and materials. Select a ladder with the proper capacity. Also, be sure to select a ladder of proper height to reach the work area without overextending.

Be aware of wires, electrical devices and live electrical circuits. Metal ladders conduct electricity and can create a danger of electrocution. Failure to read and follow instructions regarding electrical safety could result in serious personal injury or death.

Ladder Inspection Before Each Use

  1. Inspect upon receipt and before each use. Never climb a damaged, bent or broken ladder: all working parts must be in good working order.
  2. Make sure all rivets and joints, nuts and bolts are tight; feet, steps and rungs are secure; spreaders and pail shelf function properly (on step ladders); and rung locks, rope and pulley are in good condition (on extension ladders).
  3. Keep ladder clean, free from grease, oil, mud, snow, wet paint and other slippery material. Keep your shoes clean. Leather soles should not be used.
  4. Never make temporary repairs of damaged or missing parts.
  5. Destroy ladder if damaged, worn or if exposed to fire or chemical corrosion.

General Precautions Before Each Use

  1. Read the instructions printed on the ladder and follow them. Ladders are designed for one person. Exceptions are Double Front Step Ladders, which may be used by two people, one on each side. Duty Ratings still apply for each side and should be carefully observed.
  2. Never leave a ladder set up and unattended. Special care should be taken to keep children away from all ladders.
  3. If you anticipate the use of chemicals or other possibly corrosive materials, the ladder manufacturer should be consulted before use.
  4. If you are in poor health, subject to fainting spells, have a physical handicap that would impair your climbing ability, or if you are under the influence of any drug or alcohol (including legal drugs that may cause drowsiness), you should not use a ladder.
  5. Do not use in high winds or during a storm.
  6. Stay focused on safety whenever you are on the ladder, and keep your body weight between the rails.

Proper Care & Storage of Ladders

  1. Store ladders in a safe, dry place.
  2. Hang ladders on racks, at intervals of 6 feet for support.
  3. Properly secure and support ladders while in transit.
  4. Keep ladders clean and free of foreign materials.
  5. Never store materials on ladders. 

Step Ladders: Proper Set Up

  1. DANGER! Metal Conducts Electricity! Do not let ladders of any material come in contact with live electrical wires.
  2. Make sure ladder is fully open, spreaders secure, and pail shelf in position.
  3. Place on firm level surface with a secure footing. Do not use on slippery surfaces. Do not place on boxes, unstable bases or scaffolds to gain additional height. Do not place in front of door opening toward ladder

Proper Climbing & Use

  1. Face ladder when climbing up or down; keep body centered between side rails.
  2. Maintain a firm grip. Use both hands in climbing
  3. Never climb a ladder from the side unless ladder is secured against side-wise motion, or climb from one ladder to another.
  4. Do not over reach; move ladder when needed.
  5. Do not "walk" or "jog" ladder when standing on it.
  6. Do not stand, climb or sit on ladder top, pail shelf, braces, or back section.
  7. Do not overload. Ladders are meant for one person. Do not use as a brace, platform or plank.
  8. Keep ladder close to work; avoid pushing or pulling off to the side of ladders.