It’s back-to-school season, and we’re using the opportunity to teach everyone some practical lessons we’ve learned on the job that you can put into practice at home.

When we’re out in the field inspecting a site, we often use ladders. But even when we’re not at work, ladders make a frequent appearance for home projects. You don’t have to go to engineering school to know how to use a ladder safely. We’ll break down the top tips right here with eight simple steps.

– Know the maximum load. All ladders are given a rating based on the maximum load they can safely withstand. Max load includes the person’s weight and any objects the person carries up the ladder. Max loads for the different ratings are:
IAA – 375 pounds
IA – 300 pounds
I – 250 pounds
II – 225 pounds
III – 200 pounds

– Don’t use a metal ladder near power lines.

– Don’t use the top three rungs of a ladder.

– Make sure the ladder is on a stable base (i.e. do not place ladders on boxes or tables)

– Always maintain 3 points of contact when climbing the ladder.

– For extension/straight ladders, the base should be ¼ of the total working length away from the wall and 3 feet above the support point.

– For extension ladders, make sure the extended part of the ladder is secured properly to prevent collapse or slipping.

– Regularly evaluate the condition of your ladder. If the non-slip pads are worn down, slipping could be an issue when in use.

Lesson learned: no matter what you’re using a ladder for, it’s important to stay safe. Keep these eight simple tips in mind the next time you take a climb!

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