Statistics show that a third of all reported falls from height involve ladders and step ladders. Ladders are an easy way to access high areas however, they are not always the safest or most suitable method.
Ladders should only be used for periods of short duration and in circumstances where there is low risk or no alternative.
Before instructing a worker to use a ladder or step ladder an employer must look at the risks posed by using the ladder and must satisfy themselves that the there is no other more suitable equipment which should or could be used.
If a ladder is to be used an employer must ensure
- the ladder being used is the most suitable type of ladder for the job
- the ladder has been properly maintained and is in good condition
- the ladder's feet when in use are placed on firm, stable and suitable ground
- the ladder is properly secured
- if the ladder rises a vertical distance of 9 meters or more above its base, where reasonably practicable, employers must ensure there are suitable and safe landing areas or rest platforms
- the ladder shall be used in such a way to allow the user to have a secure handhold, where reasonably practicable
- employees are trained in the safe use of ladders.
A helpful guide to the safe use of stepladders can be found at:
Safe Use of Ladders and Stepladders
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