Ladder (un)safety.

In my current place of employment, I have twice taken ladder safety certification. I even have a handy certification card I can carry around in my wallet! A mere 6 days after taking my refresher, my father in law came over to trim the hedges.

I had to leave.

He wasn’t hired by us to do this work therefore I had no legal recourse to put an end to the blatant dangers he was subjecting himself and my husband to. Although he WAS a stickler for work booths and safety glasses. Not that they would stop you when you fall off a ladder and a gas hedge trimmer falls on you. I’m grateful for the help he was providing but I don’t want that help at the expense of anyone’s safety.


  1. set up your ladder on a level surface clear of debris or other general stuff that can move around
  2. you can put ONE layer of 2×4 under the feet of the ladder (this is called a mud sill)
  3. always maintain three points of contact between yourself and the ladder (this means hands and feet, not butts, hips or elbows)
  4. keep your body between the exterior rails
  5. keep your stomach facing the ladder
  6. do not use the top two steps for your feet at all. they are for your hands and for structural integrity

Helpful tips:

Someone holding the ladder is useless. If you are at the top and the ladder is wobbling, someone holding it at the bottom will do nothing except be and extra casualty when you fall on them. If you follow the procedures above, there is no need to even contemplate having someone uselessly hold the ladder. The only exception for this ladder holding tip is when an extension ladder needs to be tied off. at that point, TWO people secure the ladder in a very specific way while I third person goes up to attach it at the top.

And now the photo evidence that breaks all of these rules (note – these rules are not meant to make your life hard, they are meant to keep you from death):

Ladder Set-Up



Ladder Use




I think the photos really speak for themselves. I don’t need to get all preachy here. But this is why I can’t be around when this stuff is going on. I don’t want to watch somebody who won’t listen to me be hurt by something very easily preventable.

On this day:

In 2007 – “sometimes I just like to take muscle relaxants”
In 2006 – The question that led to me adding risotto to my dinner repertoire
In 2005 – a couple of years ago, my body re-absorbed that extra finger


One Comment on “Ladder (un)safety.”

  1. T says:

    I didn’t know all of the rules you listed, thanks for sharing.

    My son and I met my friends handy man in New Orleans. My son helped him with some chores and found him to be a lovely ol’ guy who told funny stories and had an interesting perspective. About a week after we met him, we heard he fell off a ladder at work, was in a coma and then passed away. He died from a fall off a ladder. Tragic, preventable way to go.

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