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Ladders - Securing Portable

How do you secure portable ladders?

  • Begin securing and stabilizing the ladder from the bottom up (from the footing).
  • Set up your ladder on a firm, level, and stable surface.
  • Secure both the base and top of a ladder to prevent movement. Securing a ladder at the foot does not prevent a side slip at the top.
  • Brace or tie off the ladder near the base. If there is no structure to tie off, use a stake in the ground. Do not use a barrel, box, or another loose object as a support for a ladder.
  • Use ladders equipped with non-slip feet. Otherwise, nail a cleat to the floor or use a device designed for this purpose.
  • Remove all the debris and clutter around the base of the ladder.
  • Rest the top of the ladder against a solid surface that can withstand the load. Do not let the top of the ladder rest on a gutter, window sash, windowpane, or anything that can break or move.
  • Use wall grips on the risers to prevent side slipping when a ladder is leaning against a smooth surface.
  • Attach a ladder stay (i.e., ladder stabilizer) across the back of a ladder where a surface cannot stand the load. Extend the stay across a window for firm support against the building walls or window frame.
  • Guard or fence off the area around a ladder that is placed in an area where persons have access. If a barricade is not possible, have someone hold and guard the bottom of the ladder to prevent another person from bumping into the ladder.
Attaching Ladder Stay
Attach hooks
Ladder with non-slip feet
  • Attach hooks on top of ladder rails where the ladder is to be used at a constant height.
  • Test the ladder to verify that it is secure.
  • When not in use, do not rest a ladder on any rung. Only the side rails are designed for this purpose.

Note: When working 3 metres (10 feet) or more above ground, a fall protection program may be necessary. Wear a safety belt or harness with the lanyard tied appropriately to an adequate point independent of the ladder. Make sure that you follow working at heights training that includes how to use fall protection devices safely.

Document last updated on February 17, 2021

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Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.