How to avoid ladder accidents is not the first thing we think about when using a ladder, safety should always be your first concern. Around 14 deaths and 12000 happen to workers each year, injuries like broken backs, skull fractures and broken limbs among others. Most of the injuries are caused by the wrong setting up of the ladder or it`s inappropriate use. You should always ask yourself if the use of a ladder is the best way to approach a project, you should not be up a ladder for longer than 30 minutes at any one time to avoid fatigue, if your project requires a lot longer periods of time up the ladder, then why not consider a working platform system. Working platforms (scaffold) can cost you a little, but think of the cost if you break your back from a fall, you can never put a price on personal safety or the safety of others.

Setting Up Your Extension Ladder

  • Always inspect the ladder for any signs of wear and tear, these can include, cracks, rust, lose rungs
  • Always make sure you wear firm clean soled shoes, do not be tempted to climb a ladder wearing slippers or barefoot
  • Make sure the ground is level, stable and clear of all debris
  • Make sure you have one hand on the ladder at all times
  • Always look up when raising the ladder to check for overhead power lines
  • Never climb a ladder you did not set up before you inspect it`s set up
  • Were possible, always have someone holding the ladder for you

Is your ladder location safe?

Ladders should only be used:

  • Were they will not be struck by vehicles
  • Were they will be knocked by pedestrians
  • Were people cannot be struck by an accidental drop of tools or materials

Some thoughts about step ladders

Step ladders can be equally as dangerous and the above tips should always be used, quite often the fact you are not very high off the ground will give you a false sense of security. Many visits to the accident and emergency department are caused by the use of step ladders, not always by people using them in their front room or loft, but by professionals. Even people who use them every day at work, will still forget about basic Health & Safety and the results can be devastating even from a low height.


Everyone using a ladder or similar should be provided with training on how to set up and use of the ladder. Most accidents are caused by the inapropriate use of ladders, this can be greatly reduced by proper training, many accredited training companies are available and is worth every minute of your time.

— The information contained in article post is meant for guidance only and should not be used in the place of a recognised training course or procedures.