Use ladders with care

Painter on ladder

Improper use of a ladder can be extremely dangerous. Many volunteers who assist in stage set up, prop management, and scenery design don't know how to use a ladder safely.

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons offers these guidelines to share with your volunteers:

  • Before climbing a ladder, make sure the locks are secured and the bottom and top of the ladder rails are on firm surfaces. Make sure shoe soles are clean so they don’t slip off the ladder rungs.
  • Don't wear leather-soled shoes—they can be slippery. Shoelaces should be securely tied. Make sure shoelaces and pant legs are not so long that they extend under shoes and cause a person to slip.
  • Face the ladder while climbing and stay in the center of the rails. Grip both rails securely while climbing. Don't lean over the side of the ladder. Always keep at least three-point contact on a ladder at all times (two hands and one foot, or one hand and both feet.)
  • Never stand on the top rung of any ladder. On single or extension ladders, never stand above the third rung from the top and never climb above the point where the ladder touches the wall or vertical support.
  • On stepladders, never stand on the paint shelf, spreaders, or back section.
  • Don't overreach; it's safer to move the ladder to a new location when needed. Don't try to jog or walk the ladder to a new location while standing on it. Climb down and re-position the ladder.
  • Don't overload a ladder— it's meant to be used by only one person at a time.
  • Don't use any ladder if you tire easily, or if you are subject to fainting spells, taking medications that make you dizzy or drowsy, or drinking alcohol.
Painter on ladder

This document is intended for general information purposes only, and should not be construed as advice or opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. The content of this document is made available on an “as is” basis, without warranty of any kind. This document can’t be assumed to contain every acceptable safety and compliance procedures or that additional procedures might not be appropriate under the circumstances. Markel does not guarantee that this information is or can be relied on for compliance with any law or regulation, assurance against preventable losses, or freedom from legal liability. This publication is not intended to be legal, underwriting, or any other type of professional advice. Persons requiring advice should consult an independent adviser. Markel does not guarantee any particular outcome and makes no commitment to update any information herein, or remove any items that are no longer accurate or complete. Furthermore, Markel does not assume any liability to any person or organization for loss or damage caused by or resulting from any reliance placed on that content.

Markel® is a registered trademark of Markel Group Inc.

© 2023 Markel Service, Incorporated. All rights reserved.
Was this helpful?