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Whats all the fuss about ladders?


There are over 1000 serious ladder related accidents every year and ladders account for more than a quarter of all falls.


The HSE's key message is that ladders should only be used for low-risk, short-duration work.

When can ladders be used?

Ladders can be used if after assessing the risks the use of more suitable work equipment is not justified because of the low risk and short duration.


Short duration is taken to be between 15 and 30 minutes depending upon the task.


Ladders can also be used for low risk work where there are features on the site that mean a ladder must be used.

How do ladder accidents happen?

Selecting the wrong type of ladder


Consider when selecting an appropriate ladder the weight capacity, each ladder is designed to support a maximum weight limit.  Check the ladder is classified as Class 1. ENV 131

You do not need to fall from a great height to be badly injured. More people get injuries such as broken arms or legs falling less than 2m from a ladder than falling from above this height.


For example, a construction worker was killed after they lost their footing on the second rung of a ladder and fell backwards, hitting their head on the floor.

Using Worn or Damaged Ladders


Ladders like any other equipment can become damaged over a period of time, rungs can loosen, cracks can develop so it is important they are thoroughly checked before use.

broken ladder

 Incorrect Placement of Ladders



Make sure that when positioning a ladder the ground you place it on is level, firm and clear of loose debris etc. The correct angle for using a leaning ladder is 1 in 4.  


Ladders should never be placed in front of a door that is not locked, blocked, or guarded.


Always  ensure a ladder is secured; this can either be at the top, the bottom or both, making sure both stiles are tied. As a last resort have a second person foot the ladder.


The feet of the ladder can be staked if you are using a ladder outside and no one is available to support the feet of the ladder.

 Incorrect Use of Ladders


Never use a ladder in any other way than what the manufacturer intended it to be used for. Three points of contact should be maintained at all times and many accidents have occurred when:

  • Using the wrong ladder for the job

  • Using the ladder incorrectly

  • Over-reaching

How many mistakes can you spot in the video clip below: has designed a ladder safety training programme covering:


  • Legal requirements

  • Hazards and pre checks

  • Classes of ladders

  • Positioning of ladders

  • Safe use of ladders


It includes video materials and workbooks to ensure learning has taken place.


Contact now to book your training session

Health & Safety Consultancy, Information & Management

incorrect ladder
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