23 Extension ladder safety tips

Extension ladder safety

Extension ladder safety

Extension ladders are used when a job is required to be done at height. It is versatile as the height of the ladder can be adjusted to suit the required height.

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Read Also: 10 Tips on the safe use of step a ladder

Here are extension ladder safety procedures 

  1. In the event where the top support point is a roof eave, the top of the Extension Ladder must extend one to three feet above the roof eave if the climbers’ intent is to access the roof.
  2. The ladder must also be tied to the upper access level before climbing onto or off the ladder at the upper level.
  3. The user must take care when getting on or off the ladder at the upper level in order to avoid tipping the ladder over sideways or causing the ladder base to slide out.
  4. When an Extension Ladder has previously been used as a Single Ladder, care should be exercised in properly reassembling the sections to insure that the interlocking guides or brackets are properly engaged before further use.
  5. The rope must have a minimum breaking strength of 560 pounds.
  6. On three-section Extension Ladders, a wire cable may be utilized in place of the rope providing the cable has a minimum 1/8-inch diameter.
  7. Under no circumstances is an extension adjustment to be made when anyone is standing on the ladder.
  8. It is also the user’s responsibility to make sure the extension rope is tracking correctly in the pulley.
  9. Extension Ladder requires only two level ground support points in addition to a top support.
  10. When ascending or descending the ladder, always face the ladder and maintain a firm hand hold.
  11. Do not attempt to carry other objects in your hand(s) while climbing.
  12. The ladder must not be used on ice, snow or slippery surfaces unless suitable means to prevent slipping is employed.


  13. An Extension Ladder must never be placed upon other objects such as boxes, barrels, scaffolds, or other unstable bases in an effort to obtain additional height.
  14. The user must avoid setting-up an Extension Ladder upside-down.
  15. Clean the climbing and gripping surfaces if they have been subjected to oil, grease or slippery materials.
  16. Ladders with bent or broken side rails must be destroyed.
  17. Ensure the extension ladder can support at least 4 times its maximum intended load. (OSHA notes that extra-heavy-duty type 1A metal or plastic ladders should sustain at least 3.3 times their maximum intended load.)
  18. Have a competent person inspect all extension ladders before use. If a ladder is determined to be damaged, immediately mark it with a “defective” sign. Never attempt to use a damaged ladder.
  19. Place the ladder at the correct angle. When leaned against a wall, the ladder’s bottom should be one-quarter of its working length away from the wall.
  20. Keep the spaces around the top and bottom of the ladder uncluttered.
  21. Use a ladder with non-conductive side rails if the ladder could come into contact with energized electrical equipment. Keep all ladders a minimum of 10 feet away from power lines.
  22. Never use an extension ladder horizontally.
  23. Maintain three points of contact (two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand) when on a ladder.

Read Also: Ladder Safety – 10 precautions on the use of ladders

Extension ladder safety must be followed anytime this ladder is to be put in use.



  1. When placing your ladder, remember the four-to-one rule: for every four feet of height you have to climb, move the base one foot away from the wall. This tip comes from This Old House, which has a number of other ladder safety tips

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