Ladders and stepladders safety

Here at Metro Rod we take our health and safety very seriously. Ladders and stepladders are not banned under health and safety law. In fact, they can be a sensible and practical option for low-risk, short-duration tasks.

They are used both at home and at work, and because they are so commonly used ‘everybody thinks that they know how to use a ladder and they don’t and that’s when accidents happen.’

Before starting a task, you should always carry out a ‘pre-use’ check spot. Any obvious visual defects to make sure the ladder is safe to use.

HSE say a pre-use check should be carried out:

  • By the user;
  • At the beginning of the working day;
  • After something has changed, for example a ladder has been dropped or moved from a dirty area to a clean area (check the state or condition of the feet).


Check the stiles – make sure they are not bent of damaged, as the ladder could buckle or collapse.


Check the feet – if they are missing, worn or damaged the ladder could slip. Also check ladder feet when moving from soft/dirty ground (e.g. dug soil, loose sand/stone, a dirty workshop) to a smooth, solid surface (e.g. paving slabs), to make sure the foot material and not the dirt (e.g. soil, chippings or embedded stones) is contact with the ground.


Check the rungs – if they are bent, worn, missing or loose the ladder could fail.


Check any locking mechanisms – if they are bent or the fixings are worn or damaged the ladder could collapse. Ensure any locking bars are engaged.


Check the stepladder platform – if it split or buckled the ladder could become unstable or collapse.


Check the steps or treads on stepladders – if they are contaminated they could be slippery; if the fixings are loose on steps, they could collapse.


If you spot any of the above defects, don’t use the larder and notify your employer.

Leave a Reply