Everyone knows how to use a ladder, right? While we all might have climbed a ladder at one time or another, this doesn’t mean that we automatically can do so safely. There are many times when a good ladder is a homeowners best friend, and considering a few basic safety precautions could save your life.

The CDC found in a study that falls are a leading cause of death in the US, and nearly half of all deadly falls are from ladders. Whenever you are more than 6 feet above ground, you are running a risk of serious injury or even death.

Starting from the bottom up, you want to make sure that your ladder is on firm, level ground. If not, the ladder could tip, especially when you add the weight of someone at the top of the ladder.

You should only use one rung at a time, and never have less than 3 points of contact with the ladder. Don’t try to reach out to the sides or above the ladder. If you need to access something that is just out of reach, it is alway better to climb down, move the ladder over and climb back up than to risk your life.