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Every year 48,000 UK residents end up in hospital due to ladder accidents and more than a dozen die. In this guide, we will take you through the process of setting up a ladder properly and climbing it in a safe and effective manner.

Selecting the Right Ladder

Here’s how to select the right ladder.

  • Consider the type of work to be done as well as the maximum height you will need.
  • Note any and all potential electrical hazards.
  • If the maximum height you need to reach is not great use a sturdy stepladder.
  • If the maximum height you need to reach is more than 10′ use an extension ladder.
  • Make sure an extension ladder extends at least 3′ above the top of the work area.
  • Check the weight rating of the ladder before using it.
  • Make sure you will not exceed the rated weight.
  • If there are potential electrical hazards present NEVER choose a metal ladder.
  • Thoroughly inspect the ladder before using it.

Setting Up the Ladder

  • Always place the ladder on a stable, level surface.
  • Extend the base 1′ away from the supporting wall for every 4′ of height.
  • Secure the top of an extension ladder or have someone hold the base while you work.
  • Always have someone holding a folding ladder while you are working on it.
  • Close and lock any doors that could open onto the ladder.

Climbing Safely

  • NEVER stand on the top step of a folding ladder.
  • Maintain 3 points of contact at all times while on the ladder.
  • Never slide down a ladder or skip steps.
  • Never have tools or materials in your hands while climbing or descending the ladder.

Working Safely

  • Don’t overreach while on the ladder.
  • Be mindful of people below you.
  • No more than 1 person on the ladder at any time.

How to Respond to Ladder Accidents

If someone falls off a ladder:

  • Don’t move them unless they are in imminent danger.
  • Call emergency services immediately.
  • Keep the person warm to treat possible shock.
  • Stop any bleeding by applying direct pressure to the wound.


Ladder safety is no joke. Take these tips to heart to prevent unnecessary ladder accidents.