Ladder Safety: Choosing the Right Ladder

Ladders are a commonly used tool at self-storage facilities. Owners and managers can minimize potentially unsafe ladder usage by initially choosing the right ladder.

Choosing the Right Ladder

Portable step ladders, straight ladders and extension ladders are probably the most commonly used ladders at self-storage facilities. Here are a few safety rules to keep in mind when choosing a ladder for a particular task.

  • The Third-Step Rule – If you can’t stand on the third step from the top of the ladder and easily reach your task, the ladder is too short.
  • The Three-Foot Rule – If you are stepping from the ladder onto a roof or other structure, the ladder must extend at least three feet higher than the structure.
  • The Four-to-One Rule – This applies to straight and extension ladders. For every four feet of height, set the base of the ladder out one foot.
  • Three Points of Contact – The ladder must be tall enough for you to maintain three points of contact – both feet and one hand – at all times.
  • Weight Limit – Identify the weight limit of your ladder and make sure that your weight, combined with the weight of any tools, does not exceed the limit.
  • Scaffold – If your task requires you to lean out or move around, a scaffold may be a better choice than a ladder.

Inspecting the Ladder

Once you’ve selected the appropriate ladder for the task, examine it carefully to identify any defects or other issues.

  • First, check to ensure that the base is not worn or uneven and that non-skid pads are clean and intact. Look for cracks, rot, splinters, broken rungs, loose joints or bolts, and bent rails or braces.
  • For extension ladders, make sure that the ropes are in good condition and that hooks and locks function properly.
  • Finally, clean the ladder if necessary to remove dirt and grime that could be masking potential defects or oil that could make the surface slippery.

MiniCo Ladder Safety Video

See our ladder safety video to learn and share basic ladder safety rules.

You can also test your knowledge of ladder safety: take the quiz!

See all of our self-storage safety videos here.

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