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Stay Safe When Working at Height with Ladders

Working at height is a common task for many jobs, but it comes with risks.


Falls from ladders are a major source of injuries and fatalities in workplaces. It's crucial to use ladders safely and appropriately.

The guide below from the Ladder Association and the Health and Safety Executive outlines best practices for ladder safety:

  • Assess if a ladder is suitable for the task. Consider the duration, risks, and if other equipment would be better. Ladders are appropriate for low-risk, short-term tasks.

  • Check ladders before each use for any defects like bent rungs, feet, or stiles. Don't use damaged ladders.

  • Maintain three points of contact on ladders at all times. Don't overreach or lean too far.

  • Position ladders at a 75 degree angle by following the 1 in 4 rule (1 unit out for every 4 up). Extend leaning ladders 1 m above the landing point.

  • Secure ladders by tying them at the top, using a stability device, or wedging them. Never rest ladders on unstable surfaces.

  • On stepladders, don't stand higher than the third step from the top. Maintain three points of contact.

  • Inspect ladders regularly and remove any damaged ones from use. Follow all manufacturer's instructions.

  • Get proper training on ladder safety. You must be competent to use ladders at work.


Falls might seem like fluke accidents, but they usually have preventable causes. By taking sensible precautions like these, we can work at height while protecting ourselves and others from serious harm. Stay safe on the job by making ladder safety a priority.


Safe Use of Ladders and Stepladders Guidance - HSE
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