how do you know if a ladder is safe

Whether you're using a ladder for the first time or the 100th time, it's important that you know whether the ladder is safe before you start climbing. Ladder accidents are far more common than you might think, and in some circumstances, they can be fatal. That's why we're always encouraging you to use your ladders safely! Today we're going to look at some of the things you should check to determine if a ladder is safe to use.

Check that you've got the right ladder for the job

There are lots of people who think that there's a "one size fits all" approach to using ladders - but that simply isn't the case. To know whether your ladder is safe to use, you should first start by looking at its specifications.

  • Is it the right kind of ladder?
  • Is it the right height?
  • Can it support your weight? 
  • Is the workspace large enough for the job at hand?

If you find that the answer to any of these questions is no, then you should probably consider ordering a more appropriate ladder before you get started.

Risk assessment: Is your ladder safe?

How do you know if a ladder is safe? Well, when you've ensured that you've got the right ladder for the job, your next important job is to carry out a risk assessment. Physically checking the ladder before you use it is the only way you can ever guarantee that your ladder is safe. So, how do you go about it? We've covered a step ladder risk assessment in detail before, and the same principles can be applied to any ladder you're using. Here are the main things you should check:

  • Are there any signs of wear and tear on your ladder? 
  • Is your working area safe? Are there any obvious hazards eg. uneven or loose ground?
  • Will you need any additional tools? Do you have a safe method of transporting them up and down your ladder?
  • Can you estimate how long you'll be working on the ladder? If it's longer than 30 mins, can you factor in suitable breaks?

If you identify any of the risks outlined above, you need to put some precautions and solutions in place before you attempt to carry out the task at hand. A damaged ladder, uneven floor, or prolonged period of working at height can put you at serious risk of an injury, so you should never skip over the risk assessment if you don't know if a ladder is safe.

More on ladder safety:

If you don't know if a ladder is safe - don't use it! We'd always recommend edging on the side of caution and acquiring a new ladder that you KNOW is safe before undertaking any work at height. For more information about the ladders that we offer, drop us an email -