Back to Basics Ladder Safety

Jan 31, 2020

By following a few simple steps you make using a ladder much safer:

  • Never over reach and make sure you belt buckle remains centred within the ladder stiles
  • Maintain three points of contact on the ladder at all times
  • Choose the right style, size and load rate for the task at hand. We have an excellent on-line selection tool that guides you through this process
  • Always check you ladder for damage before every use and never use a ladder that has been damaged or has missing parts.
  • Wear fully enclosed non-slip shoes when using a ladder
  • Never leave a ladder unattended when not in use
  • Never use a ladder if you are impaired by alcohol, drugs or illness

Main Hazards around ladder use

  • Over reach due to not have the ladder positioned correctly or choosing the wrong size of the ladder is the number one reason for ladder accidents
  • Using the ladder on uneven surfaces also contributes heavily to over balancing when working from a ladder
  • Transition from / to the ladder to the roof requires a lot of carry and is why it is recommended that the ladder is secured before the transition

Key safety measures for working from ladders

  • A platform stepladder, with a safety gate, provides a much better work platform than a traditional A frame stepladder
  • Extension ladders should only be used for access to or egress from the work area
  • If working where an electrical hazard exists only fibreglass ladders must be used


See page 27 of the attached report for Ladder related fatalities Work-related traumatic injury fatalities, Australia 2017. This report also breaks down falls by industry, age etc

Workplace at risk

In 2018, 28 people lost their lives due to falls from heights, with the Agriculture and Construction Industries being the most dangerous places to work. Ladders were associated with the leading cause of fatalities and are naturally heavily used in the construction industry. Surprisingly working in retail generates a significant number of compensation claims with one national retailer claiming of 60 compensation claims due to falls from ladders. A recent blitz of the retail industry by Work Safe Victoria found a significant degree of non-compliance when it came to the type of ladder that was being used e.g. household stepstools