Falls from ladders contribute a substantial number of emergency department presentations and admissions to Australian hospitals each year.
Ladder-related accidents are a significant cause of major injuries and even death, particularly among men aged 50 years and over. Most of these occurrences are preventable and happen around the home.
Steps to ladder safety
Stay safe when using a ladder by following these steps:
Step 1 - Choose a safe ladder
Only buy a ladder if it meets the Australian Standard (AS/NZS 1892). The ladder should be labelled, but ask the retailer if you’re not sure.
Before using a ladder, inspect it to make sure it:
- is the right height for the job
- has non-slip feet
- hasn’t warped, rusted or corroded
- isn’t missing any parts
- sits flat on firm ground
- locks securely into place
Step 2 - Follow all safety instructions
Always follow the instructions and safety warnings on the packaging or manual.
Step 3 - Check for unsafe conditions
Make sure there are no power lines or exposed wires near the ladder and never use ladders in thunderstorms, rain or wind.
Step 4 - Set it up safely
Lean the ladder against a wall at a vertical to horizontal ratio of 4:1. This means that if the ladder is 4m tall, place the foot of the ladder 1m from the wall.
Step 5 - Climb it safely
Always wear enclosed, non-slip shoes, have someone hold the ladder at the base, climb up the middle of the ladder, hold it with both hands, carry any tools in a tool belt and never stand on the tread immediately below the top cap.
Step 6 - Work safely
Never use a ladder if you are alone, keep hold of the ladder with one hand, work within arm’s reach of the ladder (don’t lean over), climb down and safely reposition the ladder if you need to reach something.
Step 7 - Work to your ability
If you are alone, not physically able to use a ladder safely, have health conditions or are taking medication, please:
- Ask for assistance from a family member, neighbour or friend.
- Consider hiring a maintenance person.
- Seek assistance with home maintenance through your local council, My Aged Care, or disability and community support services.