News & Events

Are ladders banned? If they aren’t, then what’s the risk?

More than 90,000 people receive emergency room treatment from ladder-related injuries every year

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With an increasing amount of news surrounding incidents that involve the misuse of ladders and the unfortunate results of not applying a risk assessment. We discuss what the rules are what needs to be in place to ensure safe practice.

Aim to avoid situations like this:


The Ladder Exchange 2015 Idiots on Ladders Competition asked the public to send submit pictures of people putting themselves at risk before an online vote . The winner above was submitted by Mike Harris.

Gary Chudleigh, Ladder Association Marketing and Communications Officer, said:

“This year’s winning image is a prime example of how not to use ladders.Wrong in every detail, it simply serves to illustrate the need for proper ladder training. Gone are the days when learning on the job is acceptable. The risks are simply too great. Over the years the Ladder Exchange has removed thousands of unsafe ladders from service, thus reducing the risk of an accident resulting from a worn or faulty product”.

So what are the rules:

Q. Are ladders banned by the Work at Height Regulations 2005?

A. The Work at Height Regulations 2005 do not ban ladders but they do require a risk assessment to establish that there is no safer way to work at height. The assessment should consider issues like the risk involved with the work, the work location and the duration of the work. Schedule 6 of the Regulations require a number of issues including:

  • A requirement for a risk assessment to be undertaken and that the assessment indicates that using a ladder is a suitable for the job at hand.
  • The surface for the ladder should be firm, stable and be able to support the ladder and the load.
  • Suspended ladders should be attached to prevent them swinging.
  • Portable ladders should be secured at their upper and lower ends and an effective stability device should be used.
  • Vertical ladders greater than 9 meters in height shall have safe landing areas.
  • A secure handhold or support should always be available to the user. A safe handhold is also needed when carrying a load unless a stepladder is being used and the risk assessment suggests that the use of a stepladder is justified.