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17 Jan 2024

footing a ladder

When using a leaning ladder for a quick job, it might be tempting to ask someone to quickly hold the ladder for you to make it more stable. This is called ‘footing’ a ladder.

While this may seem like a good idea in principle, it can actually be very dangerous. That’s because if the person using the ladder were to drop something or fall, the person below could suffer serious injury.

According to the HSE (Health and Safety Executive), footing a ladder should only ever be the last resort.

If you’re unsure how to secure a ladder properly and safely, this guide breaks down your options.


Stabiliser bars

A stabiliser bar is a horizonal bar that sits at the bottom of a ladder to prevent it from slipping.

Most ladders manufactured since 2018 have these bars integrated into their design, although in some cases the stabiliser bar is detachable.

Read more: What Is a Ladder Stabiliser Bar?


Anchor points

You may be able to secure your ladder by fastening it to a secure anchor point – an eyebolt in the wall, for example. If you are going to ‘tie off’ your ladder in this way, make sure your chosen anchor point is sturdy and stable.

You can secure your ladder to an anchor point using hooks, rope or web anchorage slings. Just make sure that both stiles are tied securely.

Read more: How to Tie Off a Ladder for Safety


Ladder mats

A ladder mat is designed with rubber nodules that, when placed under the feet of a ladder, create extra traction between the ladder and the ground. This reduces the chance of a slip or fall.



If all else fails, you can wedge the ladder in to stop it moving around.


Ladder accessories from Ladders UK Direct

Fortunately, ladder stability devices are easy to access and relatively affordable. You should only consider footing a ladder if you don’t have access to any of the options listed above.

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