How to Use an Extension Ladder Safely? 

For painting, decorating, repairing, or any other task, ladders are the most common tools used by households. Whether you are a renter or a homeowner, you may need a ladder for doing such tasks at home. Also, if you have a multi-story home, then an extension ladder is a must to use for doing your work. When it comes to using an extension ladder, everybody thinks about how they can use that safely. As there are many examples of getting injured with an extension ladder, the thinking of people is normal. But is there any solution for this? 

How to Use an Extension Ladder

Yes, this article can guide you on how to use an extension ladder safely. So keep reading to learn how to reach a particular height with an extension ladder and do your work safely.

Learn About The Parts Of An Extension Ladder

Before using an extension ladder for your work, you need to understand different parts of the ladder clearly. The most important part of an extension ladder is its safety shoe. It contacts with the ground safely to prevent slipping and lets you climb on the ladder confidently. Then the fly section of the ladder is another portion that extends upward. Some extension ladders can also have two fly parts to reach more height. Also, there is a rung lock in the extension ladder that stops the fly section from sliding. Some large extension ladders also come with a rope or pulley to extend the fly part of the ladder easily. 

Also, you have to choose the right extension ladder for your application to ensure safe performance. Consider the height you want to reach and the area where you need to use the ladder and then choose a ladder that meets your needs. You can also check the maximum weight capacity of the extension ladder before buying it. Usually, extension ladders can carry from 200 lbs to 375 lbs according to their design, construction, and the brand. Therefore, consider all these things and make sure the extension ladder is ideal for your application. 

Set Up The Extension Ladder Properly

Now, you have the right extension ladder for your application and know the parts of it. So it is time to set up the ladder for your work. First, check that the ladder is in good condition and make sure you can use it easily. The fly part should move upward and downward with ease, and the rung lock should lock the fly portion properly to ensure safe performance. After that, position the ladder against the wall appropriately. 

Take the ladder to the place where you want to use it and place it properly on its safety shoe and make sure there is no waggle. Then extend the fly part till the height you want to reach. After that, position the ladder by following the 4:1 rule. If the height that you want to reach is 20 feet, then you can place the ladder 5 feet off the wall. If the ladder has a pulley or rope, then you can use that to open the fly part. If there is no rope, then you can open it manually. You can also extend the ladder above three feet of your working height for improved safety. Now, lock the fly section using the rung lock appropriately.     

Also, make sure to set the ladder at the right angle to prevent slipping and sliding during operation. If you place the ladder at too much angle, then the ladder may get bent, and the bottom may slide. While positioning the ladder, you also need to check that both arms of the ladder are touching to the wall to make proper balance. This way, you can ensure that the ladder is safe to use.  

Another way to ensure safety is to secure the base and the arms of the ladder. To secure the base and the arms of the ladder, you can tie them with a rope and fix them to any fixture of the wall. In this way, you can set up an extension ladder for your work.

Use The Ladder

Once the ladder is set up appropriately, you can use it to do your work. While using the ladder, don’t get disturbed. Make sure to climb the ladder with focus. You can climb one rung at a time and hold the ladder properly to prevent falling. If you want to carry some tools for your work, then you can carry them around your waist in a tool belt. Also, make sure to keep three-point of support with the ladder to use it properly and safely. You can keep both foot and a hand on the ladder to maintain proper balance on it. 

Also, before stepping up on a ladder, you need to ensure that the ladder is stable and ready for use. Moreover, don’t adjust the ladder when somebody is on it. Otherwise, the person may lose balance and fall down. It is also recommended that while using an extension ladder, two persons should involve in that, one person for climbing and the other person for holding the ladder in place. This way, you can use the extension ladder safely.       

Why Do People Think It Is Dangerous To Use An Extension Ladder?

In general, many people meet accidents with ladder and get injured. Also, it causes death for some people. Therefore, it became common thinking among people that using an extension ladder can be dangerous. Here are some reasons why injuries happen while using an extension ladder. 

  • Most people didn’t know the right method of using an extension ladder and fall from the ladder due to instability. 
  • Usually, people set up the ladder at the wrong angle that causes the ladder to slide.  
  • Mostly, people use an extension ladder alone. It can be dangerous as when a person is on the ladder, he/she can’t balance it. So while using an extension ladder, two people should be incorporated. 
  • Extension ladders usually have only two-point contact with the ground, which makes it difficult to balance while accessing larger heights. So the user must take precautions.  

Therefore, while using an extension ladder, you need to prevent these mistakes to do your work safely.

Also Read: Portable Ladder Safety Tips and Using Guide


Extension ladders are frequently used tools at home for doing many tasks. But it must be used safely to prevent falls and injuries during the operation. Also, while using an extension ladder, you need to take precautions for a better experience. Also, many people get injured during the operation due to imbalance or any other reasons. Therefore, you need to understand how an extension ladder should be used before using it. If you don’t do that, then you may meet accidents during the operation.