2. How and when to use a ladder at work
When to use a ladder at work
Ladders can be used for work at height when an assessment of the risk for carrying out a task has shown that using equipment that offers a higher level of fall protection is not justified.
This is because of the low risk and short duration of use, or there are existing workplace features which cannot be altered.
Short duration is not the deciding factor in establishing whether use of a ladder is acceptable – you must have first considered risk.
As a guide, if your task would require staying up a leaning ladder or stepladder for more than 30 minutes at a time, it is recommended you use alternative equipment.
You should only use ladders in situations where they can be used safely, eg where the ladder will be level and stable, and can be secured (where it is reasonably practicable to do so).
Know how to use a ladder safely
To use a ladder, you must be competent or, if you are being trained, you should be working under the supervision of a competent person.
Competence can be demonstrated through a combination of training, practical and theoretical knowledge, and experience.
Training should be appropriate for the task, and this includes knowing:
- how to assess the risks of using a ladder for a particular task
- when it is right to use a ladder (and when it is not)
- which type of ladder to use and how to use it