Monday, November 8, 2021

Ladders and Stepladders Toolbox Talks

The following are some main highlights from the toolbox talks original format:

1- Objectives

This talk covers the following points: 

  • General hazards.
  • Restrictions. 
  • Pre-use user checks. 
  • Safe use of ladders.
  • Step ladders.

2- Hazards / Risks

  1. All types of ladders are one of the most used and misused pieces of access equipment.
  2. The use of ladders with care and in safety will help to prevent/minimize potentially fatal accidents.

3- Before using a ladder and pre-use checks:

  • The law of every state/country requires that careful importance is given before work is carried out at height.
  • Use of a ladder is only allowable if it is a short duration (less than 30 minutes) and has been justified by a risk assessment. 
  • Ladders and stepladders should be kept and stored correctly when not in use and inspected frequently. 
  • Before use, carefully check and observe for splits or cracks in the stiles and rungs, inspect for missing or loose rungs, paint, oil, or grease on stiles or rungs that could cause severe physical fall injuries due to slip. 
  • If any defects are found, you must report them, label the ladders as defective, and remove them from the site

4- Hazards

  1. Do not use painted ladders as the paint may be hiding damaged parts.
  2. Never try to use or repair broken ladders or their parts.
  3. Never stand a ladder on a drum, box, pallet, bricks, forklift forks, mobile access tower, the top of a van or other vehicle, or another unstable base or moveable object.
  4. Only fewer weight materials and tools should be carried up ladders as per the risk assessment and manufacturer’s information
  5. When using ladders, make sure there are no electrical hazards nearby (such as overhead powerlines).
  6. Do not overreach or apply a sideloading when working from a ladder or stepladder

5- Safe use of ladders and stepladders

  • Before carrying out any work at height, a comprehensive hazard and risk assessment must be accomplished. 
  • To justify the use of a ladder, the risk assessment must identify those other forms of access equipment that are not suitable due to environmental conditions such as floor to ceiling height, space constraints, or restrictions.
  • Only light work of short duration with a low risk of falling should be carried out from a ladder or step ladder
  • Ladders should be set on a firm base and lean at the correct angle (one unit out to four units up, or 75 degrees is recommended)
  • Ladders should be secured appropriately and near the top and extend at least 1 meter above the landing point unless a separate handhold is provided accordingly.
  • If the ladder can’t be secured properly at the top, it may be possible to secure it lower down.
  • Make sure that the footwear is free from contaminants such as excessive mud or grease before you climb up the ladder
  • When climbing up or down on the ladder (fix or portable), use both hands on the stiles. 
  • Always face the ladder (remember 3-points rule)
  • Never over-reach from any type of ladder particularly the step ladder. Move it if you cannot reach it.
  • Where a handhold cannot be maintained for anything other than a brief moment, other fall prevention measures are required
  • Never attempt to stand or work on the top three steps of a stepladder (Including a step forming the very top of the stepladder) unless there is proper and suitable handhold support. 


  • What types of checks and inspections must you carry out before using a ladder or stepladder?
  • At what safe angle should a leaning ladder be placed?
  • What can you do to improve the stability of the ladder?
  • What precautionary measures should you take when using a metal ladder?
  • What should you do, if you find a defective ladder?
  • What is the correct and secure way to climb a ladder

Download File👇

Ladders and Stepladders Toolbox Talks 

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