Ladders are generally considered high-risk plant and should only be used if there is no other reasonably practicable alternative, such as scaffolding or an elevating work platform.

If you must use a ladder, before you start work:

  • conduct a hazard identification and risk assessment
  • install a barricade or warning signs if there is a hazard to persons in proximity of the work area
  • ensure that the ladder has an angle or pitch of about 1:4
  • ensure that the ladder extends at least one metre above the landing
  • ensure that the ladder is installed on a firm footing
  • secure the top and bottom of the ladder against displacement
  • ensure that a non-conductive, insulated ladder is used for electrical work or near electrical hazards
  • ensure that the ladder will not be used in a manner that endangers any person.

Working on a ladder

Only one person should be on a ladder at any one time.

When ascending or descending the ladder, maintain three points of contact. For example, two feet and one hand or two hands and one foot must be in contact with the ladder at all times.

Keep your body centred between the ladder stiles.

Do not stand above the tread or rung on the ladder indicated as the maximum safe working height.

Only conduct light work from a ladder.

If the ladder is placed near a doorway, the door should be locked open or closed. Alternatively, a person may be placed on guard at the foot of the ladder. Warning signs may also be used.

For more information on ladder safety refer to the Safework SA ladder safety information brochure.