Ladder List of Don'ts

Ladder List of Don'ts

28th October 2014

While we’ve been taking the odd look recently at this year’s Idiots on Ladders photo competition organised by the Ladder Association, we’ve been thinking about putting together a list of Don’ts.  Most people will think that a lot of the points are basic common sense, but we’ve all had the odd common sense “senior moment” at some point or another.  Whether you’re an old hand in the construction industry, a complete beginner or a home ladder user – check out the No-no’s below:



  • Place a ladder against a moveable object
  • Erect a ladder at a shallow angle (1 in 4 rule – space the ladder base one foot out for every four feet it reaches up)
  • Erect a ladder at too steep an angle (see above)
  • Slide down the ladder
  • Descend the ladder facing outwards – always face the ladder
  • Over reach – keep your belt buckle (or jeans zip) within the stiles of the ladder
  • Have more than one person on a ladder at any time
  • Erect a ladder in front of a doorway
  • erect ladders on sloping ground
  • use ladders horizontally
  • work under a ladder
  • use a rung support as a working platform
  • Carry ladders over 3 metres long on your own – it takes two
  • transport ladders in an unsafe manner
  • use ladders near power lines
  • Place ladders on unstable bases like truck beds, barrels, boxes or uneven ground
  • Use a ladder which hasn’t been tied down
  • Throw things down from a ladder – however safe it may seem to do so
  • Place a ladder in a doorway or passageway
  • Walk a ladder while standing on it
  • Carry a load on a ladder by hand – carry tools in a belt or hoist them in a bag
  • Step on the top two rungs of a stepladder or the top three rungs of a straight ladder
  • Use a folding stepladder in the folded position – always open it out
  • Forget to keep the area at the base of the ladder clean and clear at all times


As you can see, most of the “Don’ts” are just common sense put into practice.  There is one other big Don’t which is -

Don’t forget to consider the following factors before using a ladder at all:


  • Can you securely fix and/or foot the ladder?
  • Will the ladder be close enough to give you easy access to the work area?
  • Is the ladder so long or flexible that it’s likely to sway or vibrate leading to loss of balance?
  • The site conditions such as the environment, the people, the vehicles and the weather.
  • The nature of the work, the type of tools necessary and the weight of tools and materials to be used during the job.
  • The strength, condition and type of structure against which the ladder will be rested.
  • Would a scaffold be more appropriate for the work at hand?
  • Does the ladder have non-skid pads fitted for use on smooth hard surfaces?
  • Has the ladder been properly maintained and undergone a safety check before use?