Working at any height can be dangerous. To be able to do these jobs, you need to climb an extension ladder…but how do you place an extension ladder so that it is safe? Using the correct placement can reduce the possibility of an extension ladder accident and an unwanted emergency room visit.
Extension Ladder Inspection
Always inspect your extension ladder for damage or defects prior to using it. The ladder should be clean and free of debris that could cause slippage. All screws, bolts, and rungs should be secure and not move. If the extension ladder does have loose fitting screws, bolts, or rungs, do not use it. Use an extension ladder with cleats or non-slip surfaces. Many extension ladders for sale have swivel safety shoes that help to secure the ladder while in use.
Extension Ladder Types
There are two main types of extension ladders, fiberglass or metal. Metal extension ladders conduct electricity, so never place the extension ladder near any power supply where it might come into contact with electricity. Fiberglass ladders are often used by electricians because they do not conduct electricity; however, fiberglass ladders in general are typically heavier than aluminum ladders except for our American-made EZ Lift fiberglass extension ladders which are as light as aluminum extension ladders.
Extension Ladder Placement
Before using any type of ladder, make sure you place the ladder on stable, level ground. Do not use ladders on sand, gravel or mud surfaces. We recommend placing a flat wooden sheet like plywood down and place the extension ladder’s base on it. This works particularly well if your ladder straddles two different surfaces like carpet and tile, or concrete and dirt. If the ground is not level, we recommend buying extension ladder accessories such as the Automatic Leg Levelers and using them.
Calculate the Distance
The basic formula to use is to place the base of the extension ladder one (1) foot away from the wall surface for every four (4) feet of extended ladder. For example, the base of a ladder that will extend 12 feet should be placed 3 feet away from the wall surface. Here’s the math: 12 foot extension divided by 4 equals 3 feet away from the wall surface. Another example, the base of a ladder that will extend 20 feet (divided by 4) should be placed 5 feet away from the wall surface.
Extension Ladder Height
If the top of the extension ladder will extend beyond a wall, such as to a landing area like a roof, the extension ladder should extend beyond the landing at least 3 feet. This will give you a safe area to hold as you step off the extended ladder onto the roof landing.
For an added measure of safety, the top of the extension ladder should be securely fastened to the structure in some way. Another option is to buy extension ladder accessories such as the Pole Grip and Cable Hooks.
If the top of the extension ladder will not extend beyond a wall, we recommend using a wall standoff accessory, such as with our Little Giant Wall Standoff sold at our Little Giant Ladder Systems ecommerce website LadderDepot.com.
General Ladder Safety Use
Never carry objects in your hands while you climb the ladder. Use a tool belt to carry your tools so your hands are free to grasp the ladder as you climb. If the objects you need are larger than tools, have someone hand them to you. Never move the core of your body beyond the rails of the ladder. Step off the ladder and move the ladder to the new location.
|About Sunset Ladder & Scaffold
Sunset Ladder and Scaffold rents and sells the safest and highest quality ladders, scaffolding and related products available since 1929. We rent and sell ALL types of ladders and scaffolding that the industry offers including our own American-made Sunset Ladder Co and EZ Lift brands.