How to Use a Ladder Safely

Why is ladder safety important?
Falling from a ladder can cause serious bodily harm and possibly death. Foot and ankle fractures can result from unsafe

Before climbing on a ladder, take a few minutes to put on shoes that will keep you safe. Lace-up shoes with a nonslip tread (left) are the safest. Open-toe shoes should be avoided.


ladder use. Nearly all ladder-related injuries are preventable.
Who benefits from ladder safety?
Anyone working on or around the ladder.
What are the most important ladder safety rules?
  • Always read the safety instructions that come with your ladder before using it.
  • Pay attention to warning labels on your ladder.
  • Make sure your ladder is designed for the type of work you are doing.
  • Only use your ladder in ways that the instructions describe. 
  • Set your ladder up according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Do not use a ladder that is broken or not working well.
  • Only one person should be on the ladder at a time.
  • Keep the rungs clean and dry at all times. Grease, water and wet paint are dangerous.
How should I dress when using a ladder?
Avoid loose fitting or torn clothing that could catch on something. Wear clothes that are well fitting but allow flexibility.
What shoes are safe to wear on a ladder?
Your shoes should be designed with nonslip tread and should cover your entire foot. Work boots and athletic shoes are  usually recommended. Open-toe shoes and sandals are examples of unsafe foot wear.
Where can I learn more about ladder safety?
Remember to read the safety instructions that belong with your ladder. If you need them replaced, contact your ladder’s manufacturer. You can also read the latest safety information​ from OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor.

There's also a new national campaign to encourage safe ladder use, thanks to a partnership between the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). Listen to the AAOS radio ad below and visit for more information.