Platform step ladder with 7 treads

Self-supporting step ladders are generally safe and easy to use, but there are certain precautions you should take to minimise your risk of falling and injuring yourself.

For example, it may not be safe to stand on your step ladder's topmost treads. The exact rules depend on what sort of ladder you're using - read on for details.

 

If you're using a swingback step ladder...

As a general rule, you should not stand on the top three treads of any swingback step ladder.

This rule is designed to ensure that there is always at least 1 metre of ladder above you while you are working. That way, you can easily grip the ladder and maintain the recommended three points of contact at all times.

8 tread swingback step ladder

(Remember, the very top of a swingback ladder counts as a tread. As an example, the product pictured above is an 8 tread step ladder.)

What is a Swingback Ladder?

 

If you're using a platform ladder...

The topmost tread of a platform step ladder is - you guessed it - a platform that's specifically designed to be stood on.

So if you're using a platform step ladder, you can stand on the top tread safely. Note that the frame of a platform ladder tends to extend some way beyond the top tread, meaning that you can still grip the ladder easily while standing on the platform.

Browse All Step Ladders

For more information on how to use a ladder safely, see the Health & Safety Executive's guide to the Safe Use of Ladders and Step Ladders.