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13 Nov 2023

can a ladder be used horizontally

Working at height carries many risks. Using your equipment safely will mitigate most of them, and this includes using your ladder properly.

How to Use a Ladder Safely

Ladders are designed to be used vertically, so it is deeply unsafe to use one horizontally.

It could be argued that because the current legal regulations do not explicitly state that a ladder cannot be used horizontally, you can do so. Monkey bars on a children’s playground resemble a horizontal ladder, for example.

However, it is very unsafe to use a ladder horizontally. Furthermore, the legal regulations wouldn’t be on your side if you or one of your employees was injured from using a ladder in this way. Schedule 6 of the Work at Height Regulations of 2005 lays down the laws surrounding ladders, stating amongst other requirements that “a ladder shall be so positioned as to ensure its stability during use.”

On top of this, Schedule 6 also states “any surface upon which a ladder rests shall be stable, firm, of sufficient strength and of suitable composition safely to support the ladder so that its rungs or steps remain horizontal.”

The rungs of a ladder have to remain horizontal in order for the ladder to be used safely. This means you should use the ladder vertically, which is how ladders are designed to be used.

To use a ladder safely, you should use it vertically as a means of enabling you to work at height. Otherwise, it causes too much user instability. If you need to access a wide area while working at height, it is much safer either to reposition the ladder, use a work platform, or use a scaffold tower.

If you have any queries about how to work safely a\t height, don’t hesitate to get in touch and we’ll do our best to answer your questions.

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