Ladder Safety Checklist

Ladder Safety Checklist

22nd April 2014

The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report that approximately 30% of all work injuries involve falls from ladders and this is costing the UK economy up to £60 million per year.  The average number of deaths per year caused by falls from ladders is 14 and even though this number may seem small when you consider just how many people in the UK use ladders, just one death that could have been prevented is one too many – especially for the deceased and their friends and family. 

Falls from ladders are usually found to be preventable and most injuries can be avoided by sensible use of ladders.

We’ve put together a checklist that can be used by those who work on ladders and those who are responsible for them that should help to decrease the risks when working at height.


  • Is the ladder free of any rust or corrosion?
  • Are all of the ladder’s rungs, cleats or steps in good condition?
  • Do the rungs, cleats or steps fit into the side rails snugly?
  • Are the side rails of the ladder in good condition without any bends, breaks or cracks?
  • Are the steps and side rails of the ladder free of oil or grease?
  • Do any moveable parts of the ladder operate freely without any binding or excessive play?
  • Are the hardware and fittings on the ladder undamaged and secure?
  • Are the ropes on extension ladders intact and without any visible wear or fraying?
  • Are damaged ladders removed from use and marked “Do not use”?


  • Is the ladder tall enough and able to bear the weight of the worker and tools/equipment?
  • Is the ladder being used for its intended purpose?

Never tie ladders together to extend the length

Never use a ladder as a brace, lever, skid, platform, scaffold, plank or material hoist

Never use a stepladder as a straight ladder

  • Has the ladder been set up on a solid, firm surface?

Never place a ladder on blocks or boxes to make it taller

Never set up a ladder on an icy or slippery surface

Never set up a ladder on scaffolding to gain height

  • Has the ladder been barricaded or secured to protect it from bumps if being used in doorways, passageways or driveways?
  • Is the stepladder fully opened with spreaders locked to ensure stability?
  • Are the areas at the top and bottom of the ladder clear?
  • Has a straight ladder been set up using the 4 to 1 rule (1ft from the wall for each 4ft of ladder length)?
  • Has a straight ladder been set up so that the rails are equally supported at the top?
  • Has a straight ladder been set up with the top extending at least 3ft above the support point?
  • Is an extension ladder being used with the upper section overlapping the lower section with the overlap on the climbing side and rungs locked in place?
  • Do you face the ladder when climbing and descending?
  • Do you use both hands to grip the side rails when possible – or always keep one hand on the side rail?
  • Do you ensure that you never carry any load or equipment that could cause you to lose balance?
  • Do you use a ladder safety device when possible on fixed ladders?
  • Do you keep off the top 2 steps of a stepladder?
  • Do you stay off the back section of a stepladder?
  • Do you stay off the top 4 rungs of a straight ladder?
  • Is only one person allowed on the ladder at any one time?
  • Do you hoist your tools up when you’ve reached the top of the ladder and use a tool belt to manage the tools whilst working?
  • Do you always stay within the side rails of the ladder?
  • Do you store the ladder in a designated secure area after use?