15_Health_and_Safety_Information_Bulletin_07 Health and Safety Information Bulletin 07 - Safe Use of Ladders


  • Before using the ladder, a pre-use check should be performed to check for any visual defects by the user.
  • The following checks should be performed:

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  • Stiles – make sure they are not bent or damaged, as the ladder could buckle or collapse.
  • Feet - if they are missing, worn or damaged the ladder could slip.
  • Rungs – if they are bent, worn, missing or loose the ladder could fail.
  • Hinge-joint or locking mechanisms – if they are bent or the fixings are worn or damaged the ladder could collapse. Ensure any locking bars are engaged.
  • Stepladder platform – if it is split or buckled the ladder could become unstable or collapse.
  • Steps or treads on stepladders – if they are contaminated, they could be slippery; if the fixings are loose on steps, they could collapse.
  • If you spot any of the above defects, don’t use the ladder and notify your employer.



  • Ladders should only be used in situations where they can be used safely, e.g. where the ladder will be level and stable, and where it is reasonably practicable to do so, the ladder can be secured.
  • Ensure that all four stepladder feet are in contact with the ground and the steps are level.
  • Only carry light materials and tools.
  • Do not overreach and ensure any locking devices are engaged.
  • Maintain three points of contact at the working position. This means two feet and one hand, or when both hands need to be free for a brief period, two feet and the body supported by the stepladder as indicated below:

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  • Only use the ladder on firm and level ground.
  • Use the ladder only on clean, solid surfaces i.e. where there is no oil, moss or leaves and any free or loose material like sand or packing materials to ensure sufficient grip of the ladder feet.
  • Ensure the ladder is suitable for the task and intended use.

Ensure the ladder is maintained and stored according to the Manufacturer’s instructions.



  • Follow specific instructions for proper care and maintenance of ladders and confirm that all parts are properly maintained and are in a good condition.
  • Ladders should be suitably cleaned and paints, plaster, grease and oils or other contaminants immediately removed
  • When storing ladders, they should not be hanged or stored vertically and no materials stacked on top of them.
  • Dropping, damaging or misusing ladders should be avoided as any damaged part could adversely affect the integrity of the ladder and could result in an accident