How to Raise a Heavy Extension Ladder

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Raising a heavy extension ladder can seem like a daunting task, and should certainly never be attempted by someone who is not mentally and physically capable of it. If you are unsure of your ability to sustain the weight of a heavy ladder while positioning it, employ the help of a partner. Many injuries and deaths occur each year due to ladder accidents, with over 146,000 injured parties arriving in the emergency room yearly, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Always follow strict safety guidelines while working with ladders.

  • Position the extension ladder flat on the ground, making sure the fly section will be facing out (away from the building) as you lift. The fly section is the upper extension part of the ladder.

  • Butt the foot of ladder firmly up against the wall of the building, or, if one is unavailable or cannot be used, employ the assistance of a second person to place one foot on the bottom rung and the other one against either side of the ladder leg to hold it steady for you as you lift.

  • Position yourself behind the top of the ladder. Use both hands to lift the top of the ladder while at the same time pushing it forward in order to maintain pressure against the wall of the building.

  • Push the ladder overhead with your hands at the highest point of reach. Walk under it, moving hand over hand while moving down on the rungs to push the ladder in the direction of the building.

  • Do not panic once you are past the midpoint and begin to feel pressure as the top of the ladder becomes heavier. Continue to exert pressure against the building wall with the bottom legs of the ladder while continuing to lift. Rest the extension ladder against the side of the building when it is fully erect.

  • Position one of your hands on the bottom rung of the ladder and the other higher up to keep the top of the ladder against the building as you pull the bottom out. Inch it slowly away from the edge of the building until you reach a 75-degree angle.

  • Keep an eye on the top of the ladder to ensure it does not crash into a window while pulling the bottom into position. Check to make sure both feet of the ladder are stable and both top arms of the ladder are resting evenly against the building before climbing.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always lift the extension ladder with your legs instead of your back.
  • Never try to lift a ladder if you are not physically capable of handling the weight.
  • Always remain cautious when working around overhead electrical lines and maintain a distance of no less than 10 feet.

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