How To Use An Extension Ladder | Helpful Advice

This post is all about how to use an extension ladder safely.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read that an estimated 250,000 Americans need medical treatment due to ladder-related injuries in 2012 alone, and most of the accidents occurred at home.

You think I must be joking, right?

But you’re wrong!

It’s the statistics from NEISS Data Highlights – 2012.

We’ve all been there without knowing the safe use of a ladder, especially the extension ladder.

But how can you avoid it?

All you need to learn is the safe use of extension ladders. That includes the rules of the right setting, raising and climbing up the ladder.

Here are the details.


How to Use an Extension Ladder – Step-By-Step Guidelines

Step 1: Position the ladder

In the collapsed position, move the ladder into the place where you plan to use it.

Set it down on its safety feet or shoes.

Step 2: Extend the ladder

Push the fly or telescopic section to raise it to your desired height. If your selected model comes with a pulley, grab and pull on the rope to extend it.

During this raising process, make sure that the base is footed on the ground.

If you need stepping onto the roof of your home, make sure the top end of the ladder is long enough to extend at least 3 feet beyond the roofline or above the level you’re climbing.

To ensure the fly section won’t slide back while you are climbing up, lock the rung hooks in place and tie off the end of the rope to a lower rung.

Step 3: Lower the ladder to the support

Once the ladder is extended and locked, check its stability.

Grab the rail to your thigh-high and lift it slightly to ensure the base of the ladder doesn’t kick out. Also, check both the ladder feet sit firmly on the ground.

Make sure both the rails have good contact with the support wall.

Step 4: Set the ladder at the proper angle

Place it by following the correct angle for the extension ladder. The leaning ladder’s feet will make a 75-degree angle to the base.

According to the 4 to 1 ratio, the feet or base of your ladder should be ¼ of the extended ladder height away from the support wall. Say, for a 16 feet ladder you should place it 4 feet away from the wall. (16* ¼=4)

Step 5: Climbing up the ladder

Stand facing the ladder and climb the ladder slowly-one rung at a time. Grab the steps or rungs with your both hands. Avoid grabbing rails while climbing up.


Extension Ladder Using Tips

  • Before you go ahead to use your ladder, be familiar with its different parts. There are two sections- one is fixed called base section, and the other is flying section that slides with guides or brackets to provide adjustable lengths. Other parts may include safety shoe or foot, Rung lock, rope and pulley.
  • Decide on what size extension ladder do you need. Know the height that you need to climb up so that you can choose the right size ladder for your intended job.
  • Ensure your ladder can safely support the weight. Check the weight capacity of your ladder. Keep in mind that load capacity applies to your weight plus the weight of all the tools/ supplies that you may need to carry with you.
  • While climbing up, wear a holster or tool belt to carry the necessary supplies and tools. As a result, your both hands will remain free for climbing up and down.
  • Don’t leave your extended ladder unattended, especially if there is any child around. When not in use, collapsed it and put it away or lay it down.
  • To protect the supporting wall from scratches, you can attach a cushion or pillow to the contact point or rails.

Extension Ladder Safety Precautions

  • Check the ladder thoroughly before use to ensure no components or parts are broken or worn. Carefully inspect the feet and the locking mechanism. Keep in mind the failure of any of these components could result in serious accidents.
  • Also, check the structure or wall where you want to place the ladder against. The supporting structure should be strong enough to support the user and ladder safely.
  • Never set your ladder on any uneven surface. The ground or floor surface must be firm and level. You can use leg-levelers if necessary.
  • If possible secure or tie the top of the leaning end of the ladder for an additional level of security.
  • Before moving up the flying section, make sure there is no power line or overhead obstruction.
  • Avoid using an aluminum ladder near electrical wires. Instead, use a fiberglass ladder when working near or around electrical hazards.
  • Never stand on the top three rungs of any ladder.
  • When lifting your ladder, follow the recommended lift techniques. Lifting or moving it incorrectly could lead to injury. Never move an extending ladder.
  • Never climb up from the backside of your ladder. And don’t allow two persons at a time on the ladder.
  • While coming down, never skip the rungs- only one rung at a time. Place both hands on the rails so that you do not fall or trip when climbing down.
  • While working from an extension ladder, never reach too far to the right or left. Doing so may cause the ladder to tip over or topple.
  • You should engage one people to hold the ladder when you’re using an extendable ladder.
  • Never try to set your extendable ladder when it’s in extended position. Moreover, don’t shift the position of the ladder while you’re on it.
  • Make sure you don’t place your ladder in front of the doorway.


Using an extension ladder is not so challenging. But of course, it requires proper guidelines and attention.

As long as weight capacity is within the limit, surfaces are stable and simple safety precautions are followed properly, it’s safer to climb up.

I hope these guidelines, using tips and safety tips on how to use an extension ladder will be helpful to you.

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