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20 Nov 2023

what is the belt buckle rule

In short, the belt buckle rule is a safety rule that says you must keep your belt buckle in between the side rails when using a ladder. Read on to find out more.


The Belt Buckle Rule

When you’re using a ladder to work at height, the ladder you are on becomes top-heavy, and much easier to unbalance. To avoid unbalancing the ladder, make sure you keep your belt buckle – or your belly button if you don’t wear a belt – in between your ladder’s side rails.

Following this rule will keep your centre of gravity within a safe range of movement while you are on the ladder. If you reach so far to one side that your belt buckle is no longer in between the side rails, you risk falling off, or overbalancing the ladder and having it fall with you. Both possibilities can have unpleasant results.

To avoid having to reach too far, you should instead climb down and reposition the ladder as necessary. This might make the work take longer, but it’s much better to be safe than sorry when it comes to working at height!

More Safety Rules

Observing the belt buckle rule is just one of the things you must do to minimise risk when using a ladder. You should also…   

  • Not stand on the top rungs of the ladder. If using any sort of ladder without a platform, do not stand on any of its top three treads. This seriously compromises stability and balance, which could lead to accidents.

  • Set up the ladder using the ‘1 in 4’ rule. This states that for every four units of measurement up, the base of the ladder should be positioned one unit out. So, if your ladder rests at 4m up, its base should be 1m out.

  • Maintain three points of contact. Ideally these should be both feet and one of your hands, but a knee or your chest can be used if you need both hands for the work you’re doing.

So, there you have it: an explanation of the belt buckle rule along with some other key safety tips. If you have any further questions about ladder safety, or about any of our products, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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