Can a Ladder Be Used Horizontally? The Surprising Answer

There are many hazards to look out for while working in the field with your trusted ladder. The most common hazard you might experience is falling.

To protect yourself and others around you, following the right way of setting up a ladder for usage is non-negotiable. When it comes to safe ladder usage, many people are not aware of the right way to use a ladder.

Whether horizontally or vertically, whether it can be used as a scaffold or not. Luckily, that’s where this post comes in.

Can A Ladder Be Used Horizontally

Can a Ladder Be Used in The Horizontal Position as Scaffolds or Work Platforms?

As for using your ladder in a horizontal position as a scaffold or work platform, you must be informed that this act not only puts your ladder in danger of breaking or being permanently damaged but could also lead to accidents that affect you, other equipment, and other people.

Using your ladder as a scaffold plank is not advisable because the ladder was not designed to support weight in its middle section. The weight exerted by your body on the ladder can cause it to snap in half when you get to the middle.

Also, using a cracked ladder horizontally can spell doom for the user, because in the process of trying to use the ladder either as a bridge to support your weight from one point to the other on the work platform, the middle portion of the ladder will eventually give in causing you to have a nasty fall.

Read More: How To Hold Paint While On A Ladder

Proper Use of Ladders

There are proper ways to use ladders on work platforms that will guarantee its effectiveness and longevity. These guidelines start when you buy them off the shelves.

If you want a portable ladder, it should be 20 feet high. If you want a single ladder, it should not be higher than 30 feet, while 60 feet is the maximum height for extension ladders.

To be able to use your ladder for a very long time, you must ensure they are in perfect working condition.

This includes inspecting them for cracks and defects. Ladders with significant defects should be disposed of or stored with a clear sign marked “Do Not Use”, to prevent other people from falling prey to the damaged ladder in the workplace.

The ladder must be used vertically at all times, with the base portion of the ladder set up in such a way that it is at least a foot away from the base of the work platform. The user should always face the ladder during usage at all times, whether he is climbing up or down.

Read More: What Size Ladder Do You Need

What Slope Should a Ladder Be?

During vertical usage, ladders are usually placed as a slope to make the climb more efficient. Before now, nobody knew the perfect slope angle ladders should be placed in to avoid accidents.

But recent regulations on ladder safety reveal that ladders should be placed at a slope angle of 65 to 75 degrees. Placing your ladder 75 degrees from the floor will offer you more support and stability during your climb.

Ladders longer than 25 feet may still be difficult to stabilize even with the 75 degrees slope. This is why they should be equipped with a fall arrest system that will protect the user from untold injuries if an accident were to occur.

Can You Use a Leaning Ladder?

It is not enough to be able to use a leaning ladder, you must use it safely. Most of the accidents involving ladders are a result of using learning ladders wrongly. Do not worry however, we have the solution.

  • Never use a leaning ladder if the styles have a significant dent or are bent out of their normal shape. As this would almost certainly result in the ladder giving in.
  • Ensure the feet of the ladders are present. Do not attempt to use a leaning ladder with no feet, or one whose feet are loose.
  • Slowly and carefully monitor every rung on the ladder to ensure no one is missing, bent, or cracked.

Read More: Can You Lean A Ladder Against Vinyl Siding

Can You Use Ladders to Create a Makeshift Scaffold?

Yes, you can. Many ladder experts often use this technique if they need an urgent scaffold. It doesn’t require many materials, and you can do it in a short amount of time.

  • The first step is to set up the two ladders properly. Ensure the two extension ladders are set in such a way that the legs of both ladders become the length of the impending scaffold.
  • Proceed to set up the ladder jacks. Straighten up the ladder so that it stands tall at the height which you want the scaffold to be. Then, set the ladder jack top arm over one of the first ladder’s rungs.
  • Once you have done this, place the set up facing the building and lower the jack of the ladder till the lower leg is placed over one of the rungs of the second ladder.
  • Now, set up the jack of the second ladder to the same height as the extension ladder.
  • Balance a scaffold plank across both arms of the ladder jacks.


It is important to know that the right way to use a ladder to prevent dangerous accidents is vertical, with both hands on the ladder at all times, and with you facing the ladder. It is not enough to buy any ladder of your choice and start climbing.

There are untold guidelines that must be followed before you can use any ladder to carry out any activity either on the construction site, in your home, or for any other work. For instance, when you want to purchase a portable ladder, you must buy one that is measured at 20 feet or shorter.

Also, you will need to equip your ladder with a metal spreader, if it does not come with one. This spreader must be one with enough strength and adequately sized to suit the ladder, and hold the back and front in open positions.