Department of Labor
Ladder Safety Website

Ladder Use

Setting Up:

Set up on a solid, level surface.

Keep base of ladder free of clutter.

Barricade ladder usage area if setting up in a “traffic” area.

Lock or block any nearby doors that open toward the ladder.

Lock “spreaders” in place when using a step ladder.

Secure a straight ladder close to the support point to prevent shifting. You may also secure the bottom of a ladder to stakes in the ground if working outside.

Extend a straight ladder at least 3 or 4 rungs above the support point.

Set up “straight” ladders on a "4-to-1" ratio.

Click here for a website on ladder safety


4-to1 Ratio:

The base of a straight ladder must be one foot out for every four feet of height to the point of support.


Electrical Lines:

Avoid working on or around electrical lines.

Only “qualified” persons may work on any electrical circuits that have not been de-energized.

Follow company “lock out, tag out” procedures if work must be performed on or near any energized source.

Click here for a website on 
preventing electrocutions



Raising a Short Ladder:

Place the base against a solid surface.

Lift the top of the ladder and “walk down” it, rung by rung and hand by hand, moving in towards the base until the ladder is upright.

Rest the top of the ladder against the wall or other firm surface.

Then lift or slide the base out to its final position.


Raising a Long Ladder:

Need 2 people.

Lay the ladder on the ground with the base at the spot where it is to stand.

One person stand at the base and put a foot on the bottom rung.

Other person raise the ladder while partner reaches forward from the base and grasps the stiles.

Once the ladder is upright, ease the top to rest against the wall or other firm surface.


Raising a Extension Ladder:

Use 2 people.

Place bottom of ladder at base of structure.

Walk ladder up hand-over-hand.

Extend ladder 3 feet above resting point on roof OR rest against wall.

Verify minimum overlap.

Pull base away from foundation for proper angle (4-to-1 Ratio).

Clear clutter, level the bottom and make sure footing is stable.

Ensure that top of ladder is flat and firm.


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