Ladder Safety Guidelines the Safe Use of Ladders and Stepladders

Article 1/7 of Ladder Safety Guidelines the safe use of ladders and stepladders.

Ladders and stepladders are not banned under health and safety law. The law calls for a sensible, proportionate approach to managing risk, and ladders can be a sensible and practical option for low-risk, short-duration tasks, although they should not automatically be your first choice.

There are simple, sensible precautions you should take to stay safe when using portable leaning ladders and stepladders in the workplace.

Make sure that you use the right type of ladder and that you know how to use it safely.

Ladder Safety Guidelines Article Index

How and when to use a ladder at work.

safe use of ladders and stepladders

When to use a ladder at work.

Ladders can be used for work at height when an assessment of the risk for carrying out a task has shown that using equipment that offers a higher level of fall protection is not justified.

This is because of the low risk and short duration of use, or there are existing workplace features which cannot be altered.

Short duration is not the deciding factor in establishing whether use of a ladder is acceptable – you must have first considered risk.

As a guide, if your task would require staying up a leaning ladder or stepladder for more than 30 minutes at a time, it is recommended you use alternative equipment.

You should only use ladders in situations where they can be used safely, eg where the ladder will be level and stable, and can be secured (where it is reasonably practicable to do so).

How to use a ladder safely.

To use a ladder, you must be competent or, if you are being trained, you should be working under the supervision of a competent person.

Competence can be demonstrated through a combination of training, practical and theoretical knowledge, and experience.

Training should be appropriate for the task, and this includes knowing:

  • How to assess the risks of using a ladder for a particular task
  • When it is right to use a ladder (and when it is not)
  • Which type of ladder to use and how to use it.

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