Ladders and lights: Holiday safety tips

Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Seven easy steps on how to use a ladder safely

Man on ladder in winter hanging holiday lights

’Tis the season to clear out those gutters put up the holiday lights or repair a few shingles after a seasonal windstorm, so here’s a quick reminder about ladder safety.

Seven steps on how to use a ladder safely

Canadian Standards Association logo1.  Use a ladder that meets the CSA standard and is of a grade suitable for the task (and your weight).

2.  Always follow the manufacturer's instructions and safety warnings. Before using a ladder, check the following:

  • Danger label on side of ladder warning of falling hazardRight height for job
  • Non-slip feet
  • No signs of warping, rust or corrosion
  • No missing parts
  • Placed on level, firm footing
  • Securely locked and braced into place

3.  Make sure there are no power lines or exposed electrical wiring near the ladder. Never use ladders during storms, or in rainy or windy weather.

4.  Lean the ladder against a wall at a ratio of 4:1 to stop it from falling over. For example, if the ladder is four metres tall, place the foot of the ladder one metre from the wall.

5.  When climbing a ladder:

  • Always wear enclosed slip-resistant shoes or boots
  • Have someone hold the ladder at the base
  • Climb up the centre of the ladder, holding it with both hands – it’s important to maintain a minimum of three points of contact on the ladder.
  • Carry any tools in a tool belt
  • Never stand on the tread immediately below the top cap as you may lose your balance

6.  When working on a ladder:

  • View looking up a ladder placed against a brick wallAlways grip the ladder with one hand
  • Work within arm’s reach of the ladder
  • If you can’t easily reach what you need to, climb down and safely reposition the ladder
  • Be careful when pulling items from shelves, gutters or roofs, as this may cause you to lose balance

7.  Be mindful of individual circumstances. Do not use a ladder if you are affected by medication or a health condition that may cause you to lose balance. Avoid using a ladder if you are alone or cannot get help in the case of an accident.

Have a safe and happy holiday!


Ladder Safety: There’s an App for That - National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety. Free smartphone app features a multimodal indicator, and a graphic-oriented guide for ladder selection, inspection, positioning, accessorizing, and safe use. 

Bright Ideas for Safe Holiday Decorating - Canadian Standards Association

Working at Heights Safety Training