10 Essential Ladder Safety Rules: How to Stay Safe When Using a Ladder

10 Essential Ladder Safety Rules How to Stay Safe When Using a Ladder

Last Updated on August 7, 2022 by Ossian Muscad

Almost everyone has used a ladder at one point in their life. They are great pieces of equipment for reaching high places, and they can be found in almost any home or workplace. However, it’s important to note that ladders can be dangerous, especially if they’re not used correctly. It’s also important to know and follow the ladder safety rules to stay safe when using one. This article will discuss the ten essential ladder safety rules that everyone—especially those who work or use ladders regularly—should know.


What is Ladder Safety?

Ladder safety is taking precautions when using a ladder to minimize the risk of injury. Ladders are often used for simple access jobs for a short duration, but they can pose a serious threat to safety if not used correctly.

Through proper application of ladder safety rules, the user can greatly reduce the risks associated with using a ladder. At the same time, they will also be able to improve their productivity while working.


10 Essential Ladder Safety Rules

There are different types of ladders, each with its purpose. To ensure your safety and the safety of those around you, it’s important to learn and familiarize each of these rules. The ten essential ladder safety rules are as follows:


Rule #1: Choose the Right Ladder

There are different types of ladders, each having different uses and purposes. Each of these ladders also has different load ratings. If you choose the most suitable ladder for the job, it’s important to consider the weight of the person using the ladder and the tools and equipment they will carry with them during their climb. 

To help you determine the right ladder for your needs, here’s a quick list of five different categories of ladders, their corresponding duty rating, and weight capacity:

  • Special Duty (IAA)  – Up to 375 lbs.
  • Extra Heavy Duty (IA) – Up to 300 lbs.
  • Heavy Duty (I) – Up to 250 lbs.
  • Medium Duty (II) – Up to 225 lbs.
  • Light Duty (III) – Up to 200 lbs.


Rule #2: Check for Damages or Other Issues Before Using the Ladder

If a ladder is constantly in us, it may lead to issues over time. The person assigned with the ladder should visually inspect the ladder for potential defects to ensure that it is still safe to use. If the ladder has any damage, it should not be used and instead taken out of service for repairs.

Below are some potential ladder defects that you should look out for:

  • Structural damage, such as cracks, severe bends, or broken rungs
  • Missing or damaged components, such as missing footpads or handrails
  • Marks or gouges that can weaken the ladder
  • Loose or missing bolts or rivets


Rule #3: Ensure Physical Capability to Use the Ladder Safely

It’s not just enough to have a physically capable body—one must also be free from any condition that can impair their ability to use the ladder safely. For example, a person with poor vision should not use a ladder. Those under the influence of drugs or alcohol should also not be using a ladder.


Rule #4: The Ladder Based Should Be Positioned on a Flat and Stable Surface

It’s also important to ensure the ladder you’re about to use is placed on a firm and leveled surface for overall stability. In addition, the base of the ladder should be placed at least three feet away from any potential source of electrical hazards.


Rule #5: Set Up in a Safe Place

Be mindful of your surroundings before setting up the ladder. The surrounding area should be free from potential hazards, such as power lines, that can threaten your safety. 

In addition, it should also be free from clutter and other potential obstructions. If you need to set up your ladder in a passageway or driveway, it’s important to have another person present to assist you.


Rule # 6: Avoid Leaning or Reaching Away from the Ladder for Safety

Once you’re on the ladder, avoid leaning or reaching away from it. This can cause the ladder to tip over and lead to a fall. Instead, keep your body centered on the ladder and only reach as far as you can while maintaining your balance.


Rule #7: Maintain a Three-point Contact

Then climbing up or going down the ladder, ensure that the three points of contact are observed for a secure handhold. The three contact points refer to “two hands and one foot,” or “two feet and one hand.” By following this Rule, you can help prevent slips and falls.


Rule #8: Only Bring Small Items With You

When using a ladder, only bring small items with you that can fit in your pockets. If you need to carry larger tools and equipment, consider using a tool belt to help keep your hands free.


Rule #9: Apply the 1:4 Rule

This Rule applies when you are using extensions or leaning ladders. In this Rule, the ladder’s position should be at a 1:4-ratio angle. This means that the base of the ladder should be one meter away from the structure of every meter height of four. This angle will ensure the proper stability of the ladder.


Rule #10: Observe Caution When Climbing Down

Climbing Down is just as dangerous as climbing up. So don’t take it lightly. When climbing down the ladder, remain facing the ladder while maintaining the three points of contact. Make this motion slowly to avoid any sudden movements.


Create a Ladder Safety Checklist with the DataMyte Digital Clipboard

Knowing basic ladder safety is crucial to protecting yourself or your workers against fatal falls and unforeseen accidents. Using a ladder safety checklist, you can help remind your team to follow the basic safety procedures outlined above.

The DataMyte Digital Clipboard is a workflow automation software that can help you easily create ladder safety checklists. With this checklist, you can perform better ladder safety inspections, identify areas of improvement, and improve your workplace training. 

With our drag-and-drop interface, you can create checklists you or your field team can access using their mobile device. That way, they will always be aware of the ladder safety rules and how to apply them.

Book a demo with us today to see how DATAMYTE can help you improve your ladder safety program.



Ladders are great pieces of equipment that can be used for various purposes. However, it’s important to follow the proper safety procedures when using them to avoid any accidents or injuries. Following the ten ladder safety rules outlined in this article can help keep yourself and your workers safe. And by creating a safety checklist, you can further reinforce these safety procedures.



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