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How to use a step ladder on stairs

Updated March 23, 2017

When working on places that are too tall to reach, you should never use unstable surfaces such as boxes or chairs to give you the height you need. Using a step ladder provides a safe and secure way of working even on uneven structures like stairs. To safely work on stairs, the rear legs of the ladder need to be at a shorter angle than the front legs, which provide support for the whole device.

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  1. Inspect the step ladder to make sure it is safe to use. Look at it to make sure it has no visible defects and all the safety mechanisms are working properly. Immediately mark the ladder as defective and discard it or place it to the side for later repairs.

  2. Open the step ladder and pull out the shelf completely. Place the front legs of the ladder on the lower surface of the stairs. Place the rear legs of the ladder on the second surface, where the second surface is raised above the first surface.

  3. Lock the spreader lock on the ladder after you have the ladder in the correct position. Put on a pair of sturdy shoes with rubber soles before attempting to climb the ladder. If you feel unbalanced at any time, ask an adult to stand behind you and securely hold the ladder while you work.

  4. Tip

    To give yourself a more stable and wider base, use the ladder in an area that is about three feet shorter than the highest point you need to reach.


    Do not carry objects that could cause you to use your balance and fall. Do not climb on the back of a step ladder.

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About the Author

Stacey Price

Stacey Price started writing for various websites in December 2009. She has an associate degree in public health administration from South Eastern University. She has spent many years working in a hospital setting in the human resource field. She also writes about travel, parenting and beauty/personal care, drawing from more than seven years experience as a licensed cosmetologist.

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