How to Use and Carry Step Ladder Safely (Easy Tips)

how to carry ladder properly

Most homes need a step ladder. A ladder helps people do pretty basic but important things. A step ladder is an essential tool for homeowners to complete tasks that require them to stand on something tall. Ladders are cheap and easy to store, and chances are that you already own one.

A step ladder is used for all sorts of jobs. From simple things like changing light bulbs, helping paintings, and storing seldom-used objects on high shelves.

Many people mistakenly think they can do anything with a step ladder, but the reality is, there are many things you should never do on one because of the risks involved. To help you avoid these unnecessary accidents, this article will go over how to use and carry a step ladder safely.

Following these straightforward steps will teach you how to securely and effectively use and carry a step ladder. Giving you full confidence to finish whatever task you have to carry out efficiently.

Where and When Should You Use a Step Ladder?

As we have so many things to be completed or fixed in our lives, it is important to have the correct tool for any job. With stairs being on just about every floor these days, a step ladder comes in handy for anyone on the go. 

The first thing that one might ask is: where & when should you use a step ladder? Well, luckily for you, I have compiled some information below, so you don’t have to spend too much time climbing up and down. 

Below you will find guidance on where & when you should use a step ladder.

  • You should only use a step ladder when the ground is stable.
  • Refer to the ladder’s pictograms (ladder rules for safety) on the side for using the ladder on flat ground. Do not use bricks, blocks, timbers, or any other ad-hoc packing method for leveling.
  • For solid surfaces like paving slabs and floor, they need to be cleaned from oil, mass, or leaf litter. Make sure there is no loose material like sand, so the ladder feed can grip securely. 
  • The area should be protected from vehicles or traffic.
  • The area should be clear away from other hazards like opening windows or doors. 
  • In the public area, make sure to prevent others from walking underneath it.
  • The important thing is the area should be secured.
ladder pictogram rules safety sign
Ladder Rules for Safety

The most common way to get around using a step ladder is by standing at the bottom and then stepping onto each rung as needed. This method can be very dangerous if not done correctly, though. If your foot slips off the ladder or falls through the gap between steps, there will be no stopping you from falling all the way to the ground! To avoid this problem, make sure that you are holding tight to the side rails when moving up and down the ladder. 

Also, try to keep one hand on the top of the ladder while doing it. You may also want to consider getting an extension ladder instead of just a regular step ladder. Extension ladders come in handy because they allow you to reach higher places than normal step ladders do.

What Is the Length of Step Ladders to Choose?

Choosing the right ladder for a job is important, but the size of the steps may be an even more key decision. It’s critical to know that different jobs will require different lengths and heights, and it’s crucial to get those measurements right. 

The first step should be deciding what height you need your ladder, as this will dictate how high the ladder needs to be and what length is appropriate. The size of the step ladder you select also depends on the space you have to store it.

The size of a standard step ladder is between  4 ft. to 20 ft. in height. If less than 4ft then you have a step stool, not a step ladder. There is no such thing as a universally applicable ladder.

If your home or office does not have enough room to store ladder, then better choose a short one. For this type of ladder, then you may want to consider buying a telescoping ladder or extension ladder. With an extension ladder, you will be able to reach heights of over 40 feet!

If you want to have ladders that can handle varying heights, then you may consider telescopic ladders. This telescoping ladder height can be adjusted with a specific extending locking system to your needs. 

How Much Weight Step Ladders Can Hold Load?

The weight capacity of a step ladder is often a topic of discussion when evaluating ladders. The ladder’s weight capacity, or how much it can hold, will depend on the style of the ladder. In general, a 14-foot aluminum step ladder can hold up to 150 pounds, while a 10-foot wood step ladder will only hold up to 100 pounds. This is due to the greater strength and safety features of an aluminum step ladder.

Step ladders can be classified into several classes. They are based on the type and what its purposes are. Each type has a maximum height (in feet) and maximum load (lbs). In the below table, we describe the detail.

TypeMaximum Height (feet)Maximum Load (lbs)
Type I: Industrial Step Ladders (for Heavy Duty Industrial Usage)3’-20’250
Type IA: Industrial Step Ladders (for Extra Heavy Duty Industrial Usage)3’-20’300
Type IAA: Industrial Step Ladders (for Special Duty and Rugged Usage)3’-20’375
Type II: Commercial Step Ladders (for Medium Duty Commercial Usage)3’-12’225
Type III: Household Step Ladders (for Light Duty Household Usage)3’-6’200

Take note that the weight above is the total weight of your body and any tools or material you bring along when taking up the ladder. It should not exceed that limit number.

Tips on Using Step Ladder Safely

Step Ladders are an essential tool for any home improvement project, and many people use them every day without even thinking about it. Quick, low-risk chores are best done with step ladders. If you’re going to be working at a height for more than a few minutes, you may want to look into a different access method.

However, some things need to be considered before stepping onto a ladder.

To prevent the risk of injury from a faulty or wobbly step ladder, take these safety precautions when using one:

  • Take a quick look at your step ladder before you use it. Make sure there are no defects. Do not use a ladder that has been damaged or loosened.
  • Make sure the base of your ladder is on solid ground and close to where you need it to be. You must make certain that the ladder’s feet are securely planted on the ground at all times. 
  • Always face the ladder while climbing up or down it.
  • The locking mechanism on the ladder must be engaged during usage. Make sure the ladder must be fully deployed and unfolded before use.
  • Do not put more weight on the step ladder than the ladder can support. Do not use the ladder when carrying big goods, as your weight is not the only factor to consider.
  • Your body should be in line with the ladder during your work. Keep off from twisting your body or working side-on. It is not effective and puts danger to the ladder’s stability.
  • If you need to reach a higher position, do not try to overreach. Just reposition the ladder instead of stooping to reach a higher place.
  • Always maintain basic safety rules when using a ladder: 3 points of contact. When you are on the ladder, keep two feet and one hand to avoid falling, or one foot and two hands. This means that at all times, the ladder must support and contact 3 parts of your body’s limb.
maintain 3 point contact when using ladder
3 Point of Contact when Using Ladder
  • Should you need to work with both hands, keep following the 3 points of contact safety rule as explained before. Make sure both feet are on the same step of the ladder, and then use the ladder itself to hold your knees or chest.
  • Double-check that each of your feet is on the same step of the ladder. Then use the ladder to support your knee or chest. This arrangement will make sure your body is in a stable position.
  • If you’re drilling into a solid wall from the side, you may need to secure the ladder with ropes to prevent it from swaying or side-to-side movement. 
  • Make a right and thorough decision whether you should purchase a new ladder or if you can repair/replace parts of your existing ladder. If you decide to replace parts of your current ladder, then make sure you know how to do so safely. 
  • Ladders made of aluminum should not be used in places where there is a risk of electrical components, live wires, or lightning exposure. Aluminum ladders are not allowed in many workplaces due to company policy. Some companies even go to prevent any ladders at all at the workplace.

When using a step ladder, or any other type of ladder, your objective should be to minimize the danger of injury or death. Keep your feet firmly planted on the ladder at all times, and don’t climb higher than is required.

Using Step Ladder Do and Don’t 

A step ladder is a simple tool that can be used for many purposes around the home. They are easy to store and transport, which makes them convenient for both storage and use. However, there are some dos and don’ts when it comes to using them.

  • Do: Before handling, mounting, or using a step ladder, check for overhead electricity wires.
  • Do: When climbing or during step ladder’s usage, keep a safety rule of 3 Points of Contacts for your safety. All the time, you should keep two hands and a foot, or keep two feet and a hand.
  • Do: While climbing up or down the ladder, maintain your body in the middle of the ladder and keep your face on it.
  • Do: Keep your feet firmly planted on the ladder at all times.
  • Don’t: Use a step ladder for anything other than what it was made for.
  • Don’t: Use a step ladder when the spreaders are unlocked. You should secure and lock it all the time when in use.
  • Don’t: Step to top step as the base for working. 
  • Don’t: Put a step ladder on something unstable, like a box or barrel. Make sure it stands on a firm and sturdy surface.
  • Don’t: Move or relocate a ladder that has a person, tools, or piece of equipment on it.
  • Don’t: Paint or coat or a ladder with opaque or thick paint.
  • Don’t: Use a broken or malfunctioning step ladder.
  • Don’t: Use the step ladder to put tools and other things that you need to work on. You should maintain a step ladder free of tools/materials/equipment.
  • Don’t:  Climb higher than is required to outreach your position.

How to Keep Step Ladder in Good Condition?

The most sturdy ladder you can find is the most ideal for your needs. That being said, it’s still best to be aware of certain factors before purchasing a ladder. Does it have rubber feet to help reduce sound and vibration? Is the top step higher than the bottom one? You may want to consider this if you’re going on a long job and require more steps on your ladder.

Everyone should ensure that any ladder or stepladder they want to use is appropriate for the task. In general, only utilize ladders or step ladders that are free of evident flaws as your guide. Each working day should begin with a pre-use inspection for the ladders, You should keep an up-to-date record of the frequent, thorough visual inspections performed by a qualified individual. Do this in line with the instructions provided by the manufacturer. 

A comprehensive visual inspection, like a pre-use examination, is used to detect problems and can be performed on-site by a qualified person. Checking a ladder before usage ensures that it is safe to use and is for the benefit of having ladder for the person using it. Reporting any difficulties or issues to management is always a good idea.

The Proper Way of Carrying a Step Ladder

The proper way of carrying a step ladder is first to put the ladder sideways on the ground. Put the rungs facing you. Then have it slanted at a 45-degree angle with the bottom of the ladder on the ground. The person should then lift one side and lean against it, so they can get both hands free. They should support the top of the ladder by holding it near their body, keeping one hand in front and one in back. Next, grab hold of the sides of the ladder near your waist. Finally, you will need to put some weight into lifting the ladder off the floor. You may want to use two people for this task. If you are using only one person, make sure that he or she has enough strength to do all three steps correctly. 

Final Thought

In conclusion, using and carrying a step ladder safely is easy with the right tips. Make sure to always read the instructions and be aware of your surroundings. Remember to always use the ladder for its intended purpose and to keep your body centered while on it. When carrying a ladder, be sure to keep your body close to it and use both hands. If you are using a ladder, be sure to place it on solid ground and avoid slippery surfaces. By following these simple tips, you can use and carry your ladder safely every time.

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