1. Inspect all ladders before each use for broken or missing rungs, steps, split side rails, missing base pads, missing or illegible labels or other defects. Never use a ladder which is damaged or in unsafe condition. Remove it from service and label the ladder “out of service.”
2. Portable straight and extension ladders must be placed at a height to distance ratio of 4 to 1 from a wall (1 foot away for every 4 feet of ladder height). For example, the base of a 16 foot ladder should be placed 4 feet from the wall. This will help the ladder from tipping backward or slipping forward.
3. Portable straight and extension ladders should extend at least 3 feet its top landing support point and should be secured (tied down) at the support point.
4. Never use the top 3 rungs of a ladder. On step ladders (A-frame ladders), never use the pail shelf as a step.
5. Do not use a closed step ladder as a straight ladder.
6. Never use a metal ladder when working on or near an electrical source.
7. Always face the ladder and keep 3 points of contact when ascending or descending and maintain a firm grip.
8. Do not attempt to carry anything in your hands when climbing a ladder. If you carry tools, use a tool belt or a bucket and hand line to raise and lower equipment.
9. Do not use a ladder in passageways, doorways or any other area where is may be displaced by activity unless it is protected by barricades or guards.
10.Do not overreach on any ladder. Keep both feet on the ladder at all times and keep your body in the center of the ladder. Climb down the ladder and move it when needed.
11. Keep the base of the ladder free of tools and / or debris.
12. Do not climb from one ladder to another.
13. Tie, tack or otherwise secure the base of the ladder when possible. Whenever possible, use the assistance of a second person to brace the ladder at the bottom while you are working on it.
14. Never tie two ladders together to increase the height.
15. Do not paint ladders. This can create a slippery surface and hide potential defects in the ladder.
16. Do not use a ladder on slippery or uneven ground. Do not place the ladder on boxes or furniture to gain greater height.
17. Avoid using ladders in inclement weather or high winds.
18. When using rolling trestle ladders, do not extend them beyond 20 feet or the manufacturer's recommendation.
19. Always lock the wheels while working on rolling ladders to prevent any rolling or instability.
20. Never move a ladder while on it.
21. Reposition the ladder to reach new areas. Never overreach, push, pull or "walk" the ladder while working on it.
22. Only one person should use a ladder at a time unless the ladder is specially designed to hold more than one person at a time (i.e., double sided step ladder).
23. Do not stand on or hang from costume racks.
24. Ensure that the ladder you are using meets the proper duty rating for the work that is being performed (climber’s weight, tools, equipment, etc.).
25. There are five categories of ladder Duty Ratings:
- Type IAA (Extra Heavy Duty) 375 pounds
- Type IA (Extra Heavy Duty) 300 pounds
- Type I (Heavy Duty) 250 pounds
- Type II (Medium Duty) 225 pounds
- Type III (Light Duty) 200 pounds