Set Up and Use of a Ladder


A major cause of falls from ladders is improper set-up. Many accidents can be avoided with common sense and good work practices. Using proper set-up techniques will give your ladder maximum stability and help ensure your safety.



Your first step is to rid the area of hazards.

  • Look above for any overhead wires or obstructions.
  • Use non-conductive ladders for all electrical work.
  • Clear any clutter from the area around the base of the ladder.
  • Block off the area around the ladder so people and equipment won’t knock you off the ladder.
  • If you’re working close to a corner, put a sign to warn people of your presence.
  • If there’s a door nearby, lock it, block it off, or station someone to watch it for you.
  • Before you use a ladder, check its rating. And be sure not to subject it to a load greater than its rated capacity.



  • Position a ladder carefully to prevent slipping.
  • Where slipping is likely, tie off or have someone hold the ladder in position.
  • Do not use a ladder for anything other than its stated purpose.
  • Do not use boxes, barrels, or other objects to raise a ladder higher.
  • Do not place ladders in front of doors opening toward the ladder unless the door is blocked, locked, or guarded.
  • Position the base of an extension or straight ladder one foot away from the wall for every four feet of the ladder’s length from the support point to the surface (see figure).
  • Before climbing onto a roof using an extension ladder, be sure the ladder extends three feet beyond the roof line (see figure)
  • Never overextend an extension ladder.
  • Read and follow all instructions on the ladder.

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