How to Erect a Ladder Properly

Updated April 13, 2018

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported in 2009 that there were more than 164,000 visits to emergency rooms to receive treatment for injuries that occurred involving ladders. Barrett Miller, a certified safety engineer reports that at least 300 people a year die from falls off ladders. There are guidelines for everyone to use when erecting a ladder, but it's up to each individual to place a priority on safety and follow the guidelines.

Inspect your ladder. Read the label for maximum weight limits and any instructions. Check the condition of rope pulleys and look for damage on rungs or the slip resistant feet.

Place the ladder on level, solid ground away from any overhead wires.

Position your ladder at a 75-degree angle from the base of the ladder to the wall, with the rang locks facing outward and overlapping the ladder base by three feet.

Level the feet of the ladder by digging out sections of earth for the ladder feet to rest upon. Alternatively, level the ladder by pushing its ends into soft ground.

Extend the ladder three feet above the top of the area you will be working at.

Lock the rang locks securely over the rungs. Tie the pulley rope to the sides of the ladder.


If you must place a ladder in front of a door, place a handwritten sign on the inside of a door telling anyone inside not to open it. Place a piece of lumber inside a rain gutter to protect it from collapsing if you must rest a ladder against it.


Placing a piece of wood on the ground to level a ladder could create a danger that the ladder could slip out. Follow all safety precautions when using a ladder. Never stand on the top three rungs, do not lean the ladder against a tree or pole, do not leave the ladder unattended and do not lean too far from the centre of the ladder.

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About the Author

Susan Lundman began writing about her passions of cooking, gardening, entertaining and recreation after working for a nonprofit agency, writing grants and researching child development issues. She has written professionally for six years since then. Lundman received her M.A. from Stanford University.