Using Ladders - Work Procedures for Supervisors and Workers

Using Ladders - Work Procedures for Supervisors and Workers

09th December 2015

Falls from height are still one of the major causes of death and injury in the workplace in the UK, with many accidents resulting from an inappropriate use of ladders and step-ladders.  Because ladders are simple in design and commonplace in the home as well as in the workplace, sometimes the safety implications of their use may be overlooked.  This procedure is designed to introduce safe working practices in order to minimise the risk of falls from height.The procedure covers all personnel in an organization who may need to use ladders in order to gain access to roofs, roof voids, storage racking or other hard to access places.  It also covers all ladders owned by an organization, including straight ladders, step ladders, ladders with working platforms and handrails.   Today’s we’re taking a look at the responsibilities held by both supervisors and employees when ladders are to be used in the workplace.Employees

  • Use only equipment that has been issued to you to gain access to hard to reach areas.
  • Check that the equipment is in good, safe condition and is being safely used with the pre-use checklist provided.
  • Make sure that the ladder is firmly secured at the top. If this is not practicable, then ensure that the ladder is firmly secured at the base.
  • Ensure that the ladder is set at the correct angle for use – 1 out for every 4 up.
  • Make sure your footwear is in good condition and that you are Stand the ladder on a firm, level base – do not stand the base of the ladder on loose material, packaging, cardboard, etc – the base of the ladder needs to be in direct contact with the ground.
  • If the rungs of the ladder are wet, icy or greasy, clean them properly before use.
  • Clean off mud or grease from your boots/shoes before using a ladder.
  • Carry any light tools in a holster or tool bag slung from a strap on your shoulder or use a hoist line to elevate the tools to the working area.


  • Make sure you know how and where ladders are being used in your premises.
  • Ascertain whether a safer system of work can be provided to your employees.
  • Provide a means whereby portable ladders can be secured at the top during use – it this is not practicable, ensure that there is a means of securing ladders at the base during use.
  • Institute a system of regular ladder inspections, dependent upon use. Keep records of purchase, inspection and repair.
  • Provide employees with a pre-use ladder checklist.

Do Not:

  • Use a ladder that is too short to offer effective access to the work area.
  • Use a make shift ladder
  • Stand a ladder on a box, drum or any unsteady base.
  • Overreach from the ladder to gain access – move the ladder along to a better position.
  • Allow more than one person on a ladder at any one time.
  • Use metal or metal reinforced ladders near electricity cables.
  • Use ladders with broken or cracked rungs or any other defects.