Basic safety when using extension ladders

Posted on 13th May, 2016 | By Lorretta Tatham

Whether you’re a professional tradesperson or DIY novice, there’s a high chance you’ll be digging out the extension ladder this summer. Ideal for all those outside jobs, like guttering, cleaning windows, and re-pointing the house, there’s no doubt that extension ladders are useful – but incorrect use of the equipment does come at a price.

The HSE reports that nearly 2000 people are injured each year after falling from a height. Many of these incidents are a direct result from ladder falls – whether it’s because of a slip in concentration, poor product choice, or incorrect set-up.


Step one – Choose the right ladder

extension ladders against a house apex roof

Before thinking about the safety of the job itself, you need to ensure that you’ve picked the right equipment. If you’re working around electricity, always pick a fibreglass ladder. In all other situations, aluminium ladders are best due to their lightweight, weatherproof, durable structure.

Some of our top products include:

Lyte DIY Double Extension Ladders – Best for home DIY

Lyte Trade Double Extension Ladders – Best for tradespeople

Werner Heavy Duty Fibreglass Extension Ladders – Best for working safely around electricity


Step two – Ensure safe set-up

man climbing ladders

Safety starts with the set-up of a ladder – so make sure you spend the time required to do this properly or consult our ladder inspections services. To set your ladder at the correct angle, put your toes against the ladder’s feet, stand straight, and extend your arms. The palms of your hands should just touch the rungs. From here, the ladder can be propped against the wall.

Ensuring a safe, steady, and secure set-up is also key. Many of our ladders come with stable, rubber feet, but depending on your work surface you may need to take additional measures. Our Ladder Mat and Big Grip Stabiliser are great options.

Once you’ve tackled the feet, it’s time to tackle the top of the ladder. You can use a stabiliser accessory to prevent the top of the ladder slipping and sliding against a wall. Depending on the job, you may also want to tie the top of the ladder to a secure anchor, for extra security. 


Step three – Work wisely, following all the usual ladder safety rules

man climbing ladder

As always, all the usual ladder safety tips also apply.

Make sure you:

  • Check your ladder for faults and damage before beginning work
  • Use the proper PPE – for example, boots with a good grip
  • Don’t exceed the advised maximum load, as detailed in the product’s description
  • Don’t overreach – keep your belt buckle within the stiles at all times
  • Always keep at least three points of contact
  • Don’t work from the top three rungs

For more tips and advice on extension ladder safety, why not sign up to one of our Safety Training courses? We have plenty to choose from, including:

To find out more about our course offerings and timetable, call our Course Enquiries team today on 01282 615517.

Do you have any other tips? If so, please share them in the comments below. Alternatively, you can tweet your top safety tips to us @BrownsLadders

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