You’ve Reached the Top, Now Stop and Think About Continued Ladder Safety

Metal extension ladder leading up to blue sky for safety.

OK, so you’ve chosen your ladder and taken your first steps up. You’ve reached the top. So, is safety still important? Of course it is. And there are still a number of rules that should still be top of mind.

Always Keep Three Points of Contact

First, just as the three points of contact rule is important to remember while climbing, it also applies while working on the ladder. If you cannot keep two hands and one foot, or one foot and two hands on the latter while working, it is recommended that you brace your legs or hips against the ladder.

Never Overreach

Keith Dixon, Director of Marketing and Product Development for COSCO Products, states:

“When reaching the top of the ladder, safety is still of the utmost importance! Never overreach, as this is one of the most common causes of ladder injuries. Don’t step on the top two rungs of the ladder and when accessing a roof, ensure the ladder extends at least three feet from the point of contact.”

Ensure Proper Extension of the Ladder

David Beauchamp, a senior risk management consultant for Builders Mutual, adds:

“If you’re using the ladder for roof access, make sure that you’ve extended the ladder far enough so that you can step comfortably from the ladder onto the roof.”

He also urges those reading this to consider purchasing a ladder extension. Some ladder extensions provide ergonomic grip bars and will enable you to stay between the side rails while stepping onto the roof.

Then, there is the matter of getting off the roof and back on to the rungs.

“Proper extension of the ladder is particularly important when transitioning back to the ladder from the roof,” Beauchamp says. “The ladder needs to be extending to approximately waist height. This will allow the worker to grab the ladder easily and safely. Also make sure that you eliminate any tripping hazards on the roof near the ladder access point. This is the last place that you want to trip!”

For more ladder safety tips and training resources, visit  and

National Ladder Safety Month 5th Anniversary.

National Ladder Safety Month

In addition to promoting safe ladder use in your home and workplace, get involved in National Ladder Safety Month this March – the nationwide initiative focused on increasing awareness of safe ladder use and decreasing ladder accidents. Take advantage of free resources to build awareness and share with your friends or coworkers, including: ladder safety training videos, safety posters, infographics and short videos. Join the online conversation by using #LadderSafetyMonth on your favorite social platforms.

Contributing Author: American Ladder Institute (ALI)

ALI is the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) approved developer of ladder safety Standards. Standards are technical specifications, developed and tested by subject experts, which prescribe rules governing the safety construction, design, testing, care, and use of various types of ladders.

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