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Ladder Safety

Hazard Related Topics


Ladders should be inspected periodically by a competent person and records kept. A visual check should be carried out before each use on stiles, rungs and safety feet if fitted. If any defects are found the ladder should be taken out of commission immediately and properly repaired. Makeshift or home-made ladders should never be used and ladders should not be painted as it can hide faults.

Ladder Security

More than half of all ladder accidents occur because the ladder is not secured safely. The following precautions should always be taken:

  • The ladder should be angled to minimise the risk of slipping outwards. It should angle out one unit for every four units it rises.
  • The top of the ladder must rest against a solid surface.
  • Both ladder feet should be on firm level footing so that they cannot slip.
  • Ladders should always be tied at the top, or if this is not possible, at the base. If the ladder cannot be fixed for any reason then it must be footed by a second person whilst it is in use.
  • The ladder should extend at least 1.00 metre above a landing place where workers get on or off the ladder. Great care must be taken whilst transporting ladders to ensure they do not foul overhead cables or installations.

Step Ladders

Step ladders provide a free standing means of access but they require careful use. They are not designed for any degree of side loading and are therefore easily overturned. The top step of a stepladder should never be used as a work platform unless it has specially designed hand-holds.

Ladder Runs

No ladder or run of ladders shall be used where there is a vertical rise of 9 metres unless an intermediate landing place is provided. Such landing places must be provided at least every 9 metres.

Relevant Legislation