Ladders must only be used for short duration activities – a working platform is always the preferred method for working at a height.
Where the work at height assessment indicates that a ladder is the best choice, then before using a ladder, check it to make sure that it has no defects and that it is long enough for the job. Make sure that it is suitable for heavy use. Ladders that are designed for light domestic use, must not be used for general work. Do not erect a ladder on a sloping surface, a movable object, against a slippery or unstable surface or in front of a door that may be opened.
The correct way of leaning a ladder is to place it about 1 m out for every 4 m in height i.e. at an angle of 75 degrees. There should be sufficient space behind the rung to provide a proper footing. Remember to clean grease, mud, etc off footwear before attempting to climb the ladder.
Make sure that the ladder cannot slip by securely fixing the top, where it is possible to do so. Take special care on slippery or smooth surfaces to prevent the foot of the ladder from moving. Where securing at the top is impracticable, the ladder must be prevented from slipping outwards or sideways by using a proprietary spreader arm or stay. When working on a leaning ladder follow these simple rules: