Man in hardhat looking upward as he begins safely climbing a ladder.

Smart steps to ladder safety

Do you know the right ladder height for the job? Learn how to use a ladder safely.

Ladder-related injuries result in thousands of trips to the ER each year. OSHA estimates that, for general industry companies, falls from ladders cause 20% of fatal and lost workday injuries. Avoid becoming a statistic by taking extra care with ladders. Whether you're cleaning out gutters, painting a ceiling or hanging holiday lights, these pointers can help you stay safer.

Choose the right ladder for the job

Extension ladders must extend three feet above the work surface. For safety, users must not step on the top two steps of a step ladder. Also check the ladder's duty rating, which must be greater than your weight and that of your supplies. Additionally, if you'll be working near electrical wires, steer clear of aluminum ladders, which conduct electricity. Choose wood or fiberglass instead.

Perform regular ladder inspections

Look for cracks, dents and loose, damaged or missing hardware. Another red flag: Your ladder leans to one side when you set it up. Refer to this ladder inspection checklist for a step-by-step list of how to perform an inspection.

Maintain your balance

Do not step or stand higher than the label indicates on the ladder. To decrease the chances of losing your balance, never stand on the top step. Adhere to the 3-Point Contact climbing rule: Always keep two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand on the ladder.

Additional steps on how to use a ladder

  • Wear slip resistant shoes.
  • Avoid ladders when there are high winds.
  • Do not put a ladder by a door that can open against the ladder.

Visit American Ladder Institute to view a multimedia training program about ladder safety, choosing the right ladder and ladder care.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

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