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Crazy Ladder Fails

Posted by David Burch on

In my safety presentation I use a lot of pictures of people doing crazy things on their ladders. Often people in my classes send me pictures of ladder misuse that they have on their computers. So far this year, I have received some crazy ones. I’m going to try and put them in categories so they will fit with the safety message but some of them are beyond comment.


When choosing the right ladder for the job I always tell people that choosing to go get a ladder is the first choice you have to make.


I know that it’s easier to just climb up on a chair or bar stool but that’s not what they were designed for. A lot of fall related accidents happen because people didn’t use a ladder.

There are 4 categories in choosing the right ladder for the job.

  1. Weight rating – make sure your weight and the weight of your tools and equipment don’t exceed the weight rating of your ladder.
  2. Material – always use a fiberglass ladder when working close to any power source.
  3. Style – if you are climbing onto a roof, do it from an extension ladder. If you are working in a staircase or uneven surface, use a multi-purpose ladder or one with the proper leveling devices installed. IMG_0658IMG_0629 IMG_0648
  4. Length – Do not climb on the top 2 steps of a step ladder or the top 3 rungs of an extension ladder. If you are climbing onto a roof make sure you have 3 feet of ladder above the roof as you transfer on and off the roof. Never add extra height to a ladder by stacking the ladder on boxes, pallets, etc.. Never gain extra length by lashing or tying two ladders together. IMG_0644 IMG_0663 IMG_0616 IMG_0617 IMG_0637

Always maintain three points of contact as you climb up and down a ladder. Face the ladder and keep the center of your body (belt buckle) between the side rails.

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I’m not sure if I should be more concerned about where he is standing or that he is using duct tape to fix an airplane.


I have no idea how the guy on top climbed from the ladder to where he is.


Creativity is the enemy of safety. When our engineers get creative, they have to build several ladders and run lots of tests to make sure it will be safe for you. When you get creative, the first time it gets tested is when you try it. Here some examples of what I’m talking about.

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Remember ladders are safety equipment. Don’t get creative. Follow the simple guidelines. Pick the right ladder, set it up properly and climb it cautiously.

Climb Safe and Climb On

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