Erecting a Ladder Safely

When lifting, push the foot of the ladder against the wall and work hands down the rung to push it upright. To position it, pull out the bottom until the ladder is at the correct angle.

Tie one of the lower rungs to a convenient projection on the wall or to a wooden batten passed behind a window frame if you are working on paved ground.

A full sack of cement, sand or earth behind the legs will hold the ladder safely. If the soil is soft beneath the ladder, stand it on a board to spread the weight evenly, tilting the board so that the ladder does not slide from it.

At the top of the ladder, secure an upper rung with rope to a gutter bracket or to an eye screw driven into the fascia board, to prevent side slip.

There is no need to be apprehensive of a ladder if it whips under your weight when you climb it. If it did not do so it might snap. Never climb more than about l.80m above the ground in a strong wind if you can possibly avoid it.

Make sure that the ladder is square to the structure and also on firm ground. Position it at an angle of about 70° or about one quarter of the ladder height.

Before climbing, tie shoelaces securely and tuck your trousers in at the bottom.

Always wear shoes. Boots make it less easy to feel the rungs-and thin-soled shoes will be uncomfortable because of the rungs.

Carry cloths, brushes and abrasive papers in your pockets but any sharp items such as chisels, scrapers or paint-can hooks should be carried in the hand so that you can fling these well clear in the event of mishap.

When climbing, keep your eyes on the wall immediately in front. Never look up or down as this may cause you to become dizzy. When you get to the top, look only at the job you are doing. Always leave a minimum two-rung overlap between sections of a 4.3m extension ladder and three rungs on one 4.9m long. Do not stand on the top rungs of a ladder. The minimum safety position is about four rungs down from the top.

Never rest a ladder against a gutter because its weight may snap the guttering or weaken the fastenings on the brackets. If you cannot reach gutters by standing the ladder against the wall, use a ladder stay, which stands the ladder off from the wall. One end of the stay slots over the rungs, while the other end rests against the wall to hold the top of the ladder clear of the wall.

Do not lean out from either side of the ladder-keep your centre of gravity within the confines of the ladder stiles. Work on those parts which you can reach easily. Always get down and move the ladder along, rather than risk hazard.

When painting, hang the tin on a metal ‘S’ hook. Always hold the ladder if possible with one hand. Try to keep both hands free, and pass up tools on a line. If you are right-handed, work from right to left, and if left-handed from left to right.


Grip the ladder with one hand and support it diagonally on the shoulder with most of the weight in front. This avoids knocking into anyone who may be behind.

10. November 2011 by admin
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