Working Safely

Learn how to use your ladder properly to avoid potentially serious injury.

  • In general never work in a place where you could slide or fall off the roof; always have support for both feet and a way to stop yourself in case you start to slip.

  • Do not work on a steep roof (steeper than 8:12); leave that to the pros.

  • Stay clear of power lines.

  • Take the time to anchor ladders so there is no possibility that they will tilt over.

  • Avoid working after drinking alcohol or taking medications that make you drowsy.

  • Always have at least one helper who can assist you if you get into a tight spot.

  • If you hire a helper, make sure he or she is protected with medical insurance and worker's compensation insurance.

  • Stay alert for dangerous circumstances, such as loose shingles.

  • Treat a power nailer like a loaded gun. Keep it pointed away from yourself and others. Do not disable or attempt to circumvent the safety mechanism.

  • Use a ladder only if it is in good shape. Do not use one that has a broken rung, a missing or loose shoe, or a malfunctioning rung lock.

  • For the greatest protection against injuries, use a roof anchor attached to a body harness.

  • Wasps and yellow jackets often live in eaves and other areas of the roof. Don't let one sting cause you to fall. Don't panic; maintain a safe secure footing.

Using an Extension Ladder: Step 1

Do not extend the ladder yet. Hold the ladder perpendicular to the wall with its feet out from the wall about one-fourth the height to which it will be raised. Have a helper brace the feet while you raise the ladder above your head, then walk toward the house, elevating the ladder with upraised arms as you go. Allow the ladder to rest against the house.

Using an Extension Ladder: Step 2

While the helper presses out to move the top of the ladder slightly away from the house, brace the bottom of the ladder with your foot and pull on the fly section's rope or push up on the fly section itself to raise it. Extend the fly section until it is slightly higher than you need it, then allow it to slide back down until both rung locks engage.

Ladder Technique: Use Standoff Stabilizers

Use standoff stabilizers to protect the gutters. When climbing a ladder, keep your hips inside the side rails. Do not lean over to reach something several feet away; move the ladder. Do not climb higher than the third rung from the top. Do not step on a rung that is more than 1 foot above the point where the ladder is leaning.

Ladder Technique: Getting onto Roof

To get onto a roof, climb the ladder until your feet are about level with the roofline. Hold both side rails firmly and step with your right foot onto the roof, keeping your left foot on the rung. Do not lean forward onto the top of the ladder. Move your left hand to the right side rail to hold the ladder as you step onto the roof with your left foot.

Ladder technique: Getting onto ladder

To get onto a ladder from the roof, grab the tops of both side rails with your hands. Swing your left foot onto the rung near its center. Once you achieve stability slide your left foot over slightly and swing your right foot onto the rung. Do not lean forward on the ladder at any time.

Comments (4)
sgfsd wrote:

Download over 16,000 WOODWORKING PLANS at here Woodworking guide offers anyone of any skill level the ability to build amazing projects. The guide is extra helpful because it offers more detailed explanations, videos and blueprints then your typical woodworker magazine . Hope it will help you next time !

6/9/2016 01:40:24 PM Report Abuse
micrp19 wrote:


5/30/2012 11:15:29 AM Report Abuse
johnbob426 wrote:

I had a ladder fall sideways when I overreached. Luckily I only fractured my left arm. From now on in a situation like that I will at least "C" clamp to the gutter.

1/25/2011 04:35:00 PM Report Abuse
rockfordremodel wrote:

Don't reach out with arms more than 24-30 inches sideways from edge of ladder (depending on your arm length) or ladder may tip or slide.

12/8/2010 09:49:31 AM Report Abuse
Add your comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Register | Log In
Wish-list Projects

Making these dreams come true is simpler than you thought -- print these instructions to begin!