Should You Get Rid Of Ladders?


Gary Rowe

| August 09 2019

Should You Get Rid of Ladders?

Quick Tip| Reading Time: 2 Min


Use of tall portable or fixed ladders is not in breach of workplace safety legislation, but they are the least preferred method.

As a result of recognising the risks, many best practice organisations have started to remove ladders from work areas.

If you can't remove them, you should focus on replacing traditional ladders with safer more efficient ladders.


The Danger

Ladders are dangerous.

Thousands of people fall from ladders every year, including at home and at work. Unfortunately, many of those who fall sustain fatal or serious injuries.



Preferred Options For Work At Height

The workplace safety regulations in each jurisdiction clearly specify the requirements for working safely at height.

The Heirarchy of Control

The hierarchy of control (e.g. Vic OHS Reg 44 and WHS Reg 78) for working at height requires us to:

FIRST- Do the task from ground level

If possible e.g. use extendable pole to wash windows or change screw-in lights; or if not reasonably practicable.

SECOND - Complete task from a solid construction 

For example scaffolding.

THIRD - Use a passive fall prevention system

For example, a short tether so your worker cannot reach the edge.

FORTH - Use a work positioning system

This includes scissor lifts or boom elevators.

FIFTH -  Use traditional safety harness

You might use a fall arrest system.

If all the above are not reasonably practical... 

SIXTH -  Use a fixed or portable ladder


The Best Way To Think Of Ladders

Ladders are a means to access work.

Traditionally people worked from ladders, but today they should only be treated as a means to access a work area.

Workers cannot work from ladders if the task requires two hands as we must have 3 points of contact at all times when on a ladder e.g. two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand.

ladder3 ladder4
Ladder/stair system with platform to work from
ladder5 ladder6 ladder7
Examples of attachments to help make ladder use safer


If you'd like more information on ladder safety or a copy of our Fact Sheet on 'Causes of Ladder Accidents & How To Prevent Them' just contact us. Take away the guesswork and talk to one of our expert Safety Consultants. Call +61 (03) 8544 4300.

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