According to the American Ladder Institute, approximately 171,000 ladder accidents occur in the United States each year. Don't be a statistic. Follow these safety tips from experts in the ladder and ladder accessory industries:
Be aware of a ladder's duty rating, i.e., household, commercial, etc. Understand that ladders are rated to support a specified pound limit (weight of the person on the ladder, weight of clothing as well as tools and items that the person is using).
Use a ladder made of the proper materials for a specific job. For example, use a fiberglass ladder, not aluminum, for electrical work.
Choose the appropriate ladder for a given project. Typically, step or A-frame ladders are preferred for interior jobs, extension ladders for outdoor jobs that require a longer reach.
If using an older ladder, thoroughly check for loose rivets, hinges or holding brackets, which have a tendency to wear out after extended use.
Tools and other materials should not be placed on the ladder—a heavy tool falling off a ladder could cause harm to persons or objects below.
Make sure a ladder is set on a level surface; do not use rocks, bricks or other materials to "prop up" or level one side.
Don't overextend your reach; this could cause a ladder to become unbalanced and result in a fall.
Carry ladders properly. Close them completely before transporting.
Dress appropriately for the weather and the project.
Properly angle an extension ladder to the surface (A 4-to-1 ratio is best).
Home improvement tips from Ladder Mart, the online ladder store and official dealer of the Little Giant Ladder system.