Ladder Safety


Most households will own a ladder so it's easy to not recognise the inherent danger of using a faulty ladder.

When to Use. 

Ladders are used extensively for working

 at height tasks but they should only be used for low risk, short duration light work. This should be factored into a risk assessment to determine whether a ladder is appropriate taking into account:

  • the height being worked at
  • the site conditions including weather
  • the frequency of access 
  • the type, duration and extent of the work

A manager should always consider if a tower scaffold or some sort of MEWP is more appropriate. Examples where a ladder isn't a good first choice would include installing guttering, replacement windows or paintwork. When choosing a ladder, ensure it is strong enough for the job. Use light-weight BS EN compliant aluminium ladders/stepladders whenever practicable.

How to Use

A user should have training in ladder safety and ensure that they have three points of contact with the ladder throughout the activity. Remember long ladders are harder to handle and position, they also flex more when in use. The recommendation is to always secure longer ladders to the structure. Pay special attention to folding and step ladders, the stability of the equipment is dependent upon locks and structural load bearing elements being correctly assembled. 


Ladders need regular visual checks before using, looking out for damage such as cracked or bent rungs or stiles or missing anti-slip feet. There must be a process in place to immediately take the ladder out of use and report defects to management for repair or destroy.    

Supporting HSE Guidance

The HSE and Ladder Association guidance notes INDG455 give more detail, covering:
  • When a ladder is the most suitable access equipment
  • Where a ladder can be used safely and how
  • Checks needed to establish a ladder is safe to use
  • What ladder users need to know



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