- Make sure to choose a stepladder that gives you the proper working height, usually about 3 feet shorter than the highest point you want to reach.
- Keep both hands free and maintain a 3-point contact while moving. Most stepladders are designed for one person.
- Check your footwear and the steps of the ladder and remove all accumulated ice, snow, mud or grease.
- Don’t over-reach while using the stepladder; this makes it easy to lose your balance.
- Always keep your body centered between the side rails. Stepladders are not designed for any degree of side loading and are relatively easily overturned.
- Be sure to visually inspect the ladder before use. Make sure that the side rails are in good condition, that the steps are not loose or damaged, the moveable parts move freely, that all rivets or pins are in place and that the non-slip pads are in place and in good condition.
- Broken or damaged ladders must be immediately withdrawn from service and repaired according to manufacturer’s directions or discarded.
- Make sure to use stepladders in an open position with the side braces or cross braces locked.
- Never use the top cap or top step as a standing platform.
- Make sure that the ladder is placed on a firm, stable surface before climbing.
Stepladders are common everyday tools that we take for granted but used improperly cause serious accidents. Check out this week's Toolbox Talk for some tips on making that next climb safer.