How To Use an Extension Ladder

Photo of carrying ladder

Extension ladders are versatile ladders that are adjustable in length. Sizes vary from six feet to 60 feet. An extension ladder has sliding sections that you can stretch and control through a rope and pulley system. An ideal extension ladder has a locking device that stops the extended section from shifting when it is in use. Extension ladders are designed for various purposes, including exterior home improvement tasks. If you decide to personally work on your roof or paint the exterior of your house instead of hiring home improvement contractors to do the job, you need to know how to properly use an extension ladder before you get on with your task.

  1. Inspect the area where you are to place the extension ladder. Be cautious of power lines, overhead barriers, passageways, doorways, driveways, windows, and other factors that may interfere and harm you while climbing and descending the ladder.
  2. Examine your ladder carefully. Check for any loose, damaged or worn out rungs. A little crack may cause a huge accident, thus it is important to do thorough checking out before setting your ladder up. Ensure each rung is firmly attached and the locking device is still working. The locking device prevents the extension from shifting or skidding when you are using it.
  3. Position the ladder at a right angle onto the wall or structure that will support it.  Typically you can get the right angle if you position your toes against the base of the ladder and extend your arms forward to the rungs. You should be able to stretch your arms just enough to reach the rungs, otherwise you need to adjust the angle.  Wrong angling may cause the base of your ladder to slide out. Have another person assist you in setting up the ladder in cases where there is no wall to secure your ladder.
  4. Ensure that the base and top of your ladder are secured on the ground and against the wall respectively. The base should be stable, its body vertical, and the top fixed on an even surface. It possible, secure your ladder with rope or wire for added security.
  5. Avoid mounting from the side of the ladder. Always face the ladder when ascending. Do not carry tools with your hands, as you need both hands either on the rungs or the side rails. Do not step above the safe standing level recommended by the extended ladder's manufacturer.
  6. Do not move in haste when you go up or down the ladder. Avoid wearing shoes that have slippery soles when you work on a ladder.
  7. Always keep your torso inside the rails, do not over reach or extend the center of your body past the side rails. Descend the ladder and adjust the position in case you cannot reach what you are supposed to work on.

If you have a new extension ladder, make sure that you read the user's manual for specifications on setting it up and for your own safety. If you are yet to purchase an extension ladder, the Internet can provide you listings of manufacturers and distributors selling a wide-range of ladders including attic, platform, emergency and extension ladders. You may also check Werner Ladder Co. a world renowned manufacturer of ladders offering aluminum, wood, and fiberglass products.


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