Ladder Angle Rule | To Avoid Ladder Fall Injuries

Need to use a leaning ladder?

Confused what is the best distance from the support wall to the base of the ladder?

What should you do to set up and use a straight or extension ladder safely?

In general, four rules cover the safe use of a leaning ladder. These includes:

#1. Use the right ladder type and length for the job you’re going to do.

#2. Check your ladder is in good condition before you use it. Make sure there is no damage on rung, side rails, feet, locking mechanism, etc.

#3. Set the ladder by following the correct angle rules.

#4. Make sure you have the right environment to work safely on the ladder.

This article is all about rule #3– how to set up the ladder correctly by following the proper angle. Here, we’ll explain the ladder angle rule for safely set it up to ensure the best stability. It also helps to ensure that you’re safe from falling while going up and down the ladder.

Let’s start.

What Will Happen If You Don’t Place Your Ladder by Following the Right ladder Angle Rule?

Using a leaning ladder can be risky if you fail to angle it with the ground correctly for the distance you need to climb. It may lead to slip or tip over and increases the risk of falls.

There are two wrong positions for a ladder to set up a wider angle and a steeper angle.

Wider Angle Position

If you set up your ladder very close to the wall, its rails will create a wider angle to the horizontal. As a result, it may tip over backward.

Steeper Angle Position

If you set up your ladder base too far away from the wall, the bottom end of the rails will create an extremely tight angle to the ground. As a result, the base of the ladder may slide out.

Both scenarios may cause serious injury.

Methods of Placing Ladder at the Right Angle

So, how to set up a ladder at the right angle?

There are two methods.

  1. Ladder Angle Rule
  2. Stand and Reach Method

In the following sections we’ll explain these.

Ladder Angle Rule- What is it?

There is a “safe” angle for a ladder, regardless of the height.

The inclined angle is a critical factor in ladder safety. However, it’s an essential rule to follow while setting up your ladder safely on the ground. It’ll ensure your safe working on the ladder without any accident.

Any leaning ladder that can’t support itself (single pole, extension ladder, straight ladder, etc.) needs to set up by following the right angle with the ground.

So, what Is The Proper Ladder Angle to Follow?

Simply to say, you should set your ladder by maintaining an ideal ladder placement ratio of about 75.5-degree angle to the ground.

The recommended average angle for a leaning ladder is a 67.3-degree angle with a standard deviation of 3.22-degree.

You can achieve this safe angle by following the 4 to 1 rule for a ladder placed against a vertical support wall.

4 to 1 ratio/ rule

According to this, for every four-unit of vertical height that you want to climb, the ladder feet/ base should move one unit away from the wall.

In other words, your ladder should be 1 unit OUT from the bottom of the support wall for every 4 units UP.

That means, for every 4-feet (or meter, etc.) of height you want to climb up, you should move the ladder feet/base one foot (or meter, etc.) away from the bottom end of the support wall. As a result, the bottom end of the ladder will create a 75-degree angle with the ground.

This 4 to 1 rule is also known as “Four Up, One Out” rule.

Not clear?

Well, let me explain.


You need to place your extension ladder against a wall to work 20 feet up.

The height you need to climb= 20 feet

According to the 4-to-1 ladder rule, the ladder distance from the wall should be (20 ft. x ¼) = 5 ft.

That means you need to set the base or bottom of your ladder 5 feet away from the support wall.

This is given that you set it on the level ground. For uneven ground, you may go a little further out.

The Stand and Reach Method

This is a quick method to set a ladder at the right angle.

It’s simple. What you have to do is:

  • Place your ladder against the support wall.
  • Stand to the face of your ladder.
  • Place your toes by touching the base of the ladder against the front of both the side rails.
  • Expand both of your arms forward.
  • Try to touch the ring closest to your shoulder level with the palm of your hand. The ladder is in the right angle if you can touch the ladder’s rungs at your shoulder height.


This is all about the ladder angle rule.

A proper ladder angle prevents it from being placed too far away or close to the supporting objects or wall it’s set against.

By following the correct ladder angle, you can ensure that you place it in such a way that enhances stability and balance. Thus, it’ll prevent your ladder from slipping out or tipping backward.

Place your ladder safely and minimize the risk of ladder accidents and injuries.

Prevents ladder hazards & Stay safe!

Thanks for reading!

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