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5 key ladder safety tips

Ladders are inherently dangerous. The higher you get off of the ground, even if you have done the same job thousands of times, the more likely you are to be seriously injured or even killed in a fall.

To prevent that fall, here are five important ladder safety tips:

1. Pick a ladder that is the height you need

Many people try to do jobs on ladders that are too short. Standing on the top is highly risky and can throw off the ladder's balance.

2. Check the load limit

Not all ladders are made equal. Some are only rated for 250 pounds. Check carefully before ascending.

3. Use the right angle

The general rule is known as the "4-to-1 rule." It dictates that the ladder should move a foot farther out for every four feet it goes up. Therefore, an eight-foot ladder would be just two feet from the wall, but a 24-foot ladder would be six feet away.

4. Climb without tools in your hands

Always use belts or bags to carry tools. You need both hands to grip the ladder properly. This also keeps you from accidentally dropping tools on those below.

5. Check the surface carefully

Your ladder is only as stable as the surface you set it on. If there is any wobble or shake, find a new spot. Make sure the ladder is not angled to either side.

Naturally, as much as these five tips can help, they do not prevent all workplace injuries. Make sure you know if you have a right to workers' compensation if you get hurt on the job.

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