Using a Stepladder Safely

Step ladders are commonly used in the construction industry, but they require careful use. Accidents happen just as easily with stepladders as with other types of ladders and scaffolding, and the consequences can be just as serious. In fact, a study of ladder accidents found 20 per cent of the injuries involved stepladders. Of 23 cases studied, 12 persons were injured in leisure time and 11 during working hours.

Avoid over-reaching. People have been killed getting down from workplaces such as loft spaces when they have stepped onto the top step of a stepladder which then overturned.

DOStep Ladder Safety

  • Ensure step ladders are positioned on level ground and used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Make sure all four feet of the ladder are on a firm, dry, level surface.
  • Be sure to clear the ground area around the ladder before climbing.
  • Check the ladder carefully for any cracks or loose pieces.
  • Only use step ladders ladders in a fully open position. Lock the side braces and cross braces before climbing.
  • Always wear proper footwear with good tread when climbing.
  • Watch for people working under or around the ladder.
  • Keep your body centered on the middle of the ladder.
  • Get someone to assist you when working with a ladder.
  • Use a ladder made out of non-conductive material for electrical work.


  • Do not use step ladders to support work platforms.
  • Avoid lifting or carrying any heavy items while climbing up or down the ladder.
  • Do not lean to reach items while standing on the ladder
  • Do not use makeshift or home-made ladders or carry out makeshift repairs to a damaged ladder.
  • Do not stand on the top two steps of the ladder unless they are designed for standing.
  • Do not use a step ladder as a straight ladder in a folded and leaning position.