... when is it safe to use one? And how should it be used?
Before using a stepladder, check that you are fit to be working at height. Then check both the condition and the position of the ladder.
A stepladder in good condition has:
- Feet firmly attached
- Clean treads
- Secure locking devices
- Secure fastenings when it is extended
A stepladder in a good position:
- Is fully open
- Is locked into place
- Will not move at the bottom.
- Stands on a surface that is:
- not slippery
- Only work on a stepladder for a maximum of 15 - 30 minutes at a time
- Only carry light materials and tools (up to 10 kg)
- Do not overreach
- Keep both feet on the same rung or step throughout the task
- Make sure you have a safe handhold available on the steps
- Avoid side-on working
Is a ladder right for the job?
If you are not sure that it is right to use a ladder speak to your supervisor or your OHS representative.
- Information and more links on the Ladders FAQ.
- A Guidance Note from WorkSafe Victoria: Selection and Safe Use of Portable Ladders [currently not available!]
- From the UK's HSE:
- Safe use of ladders and stepladders This brief guidance helps employers, the self-employed and people who work from ladders know when to use a ladder; decide how select the right sort of ladder for the job; understand how to use it; know how to look after it and take sensible safety precautions. A free copy can be downloaded.
- Using Stepladders Safely - shows what to look for when checking the safety of stepladders.
- From Worksafe NZ a Fact sheet - Safe Working With Ladders and Stepladders [pdf]
- From Canada CCOHS What should you do when using a stepladder.
Some of this information is from the UK's HSE website.
Last amended February 2019