how to use a ladder on uneven ground

Working with ladders on uneven ground can be really challenging. Here at Ladders UK Direct, we'd always recommend using your ladder on flat ground where possible, but we understand that sometimes this simply isn't an option. If you find yourself having to use a ladder on uneven ground, you should do whatever you can to make the ground even before you start.

Step ladders tend to offer more stability on uneven ground than extension ladders because they have four points of contact with the floor rather than two. Given a choice between the two a step ladder would be a safer option, however, these steps will help you use all kinds of ladders safely on uneven ground.

Soft Ground

Are you faced with uneven ground that's soft enough for your ladder legs to sink into? Evening out this kind of ground isn't too difficult! If you're able to, grab a shovel and dig away any areas of the ground that are higher than they should be, this extracted earth can be used to fill in lower spots until the ground appears more even. Once all the soil is in place, use the back of the shovel (or your feet) to compress the soil and flatten it further. 

To stop your ladder legs sinking into the earth again, we'd recommend placing a ladder mat or a piece of board over the flattened earth. This will give your step/extension ladder something firm to stand on.

Hard Ground

Working on hard, uneven ground is a little more challenging, you can't just dig it up and start again! To tackle this problem, you should start by setting up the ladder and propping it up on the flattest part of the ground near to where you're working. Remember not to move the ladder too far away, over-reaching can be dangerous too!

If one of the ladder legs is significantly higher than the other, you might be able to add a ladder chock or piece of wood under the leg to stabilise it. Make sure you test the ladder's stability before you ascend, it's better to detect and correct a wobble while you're only one or two rungs off the ground.

Tips for using extension ladders on uneven ground

As mentioned, extension ladders are generally more difficult to use on uneven ground because they only have two legs on the ground instead of four. To make your extension ladder as safe as possible, we'd recommend using some form of ladder levellers with individually adjustable feet.

If you can't get hold of these, you could try digging a hole into the side of the ground that's too high and placing the ladder leg inside it. This DIY method won't work in all settings but can come in handy when you're working on soft ground. 

An alternative option would be to build a stable structure over the unstable ground. This platform has to be strong enough to support the weight of you your ladder as well as providing enough grip to stop the ladder from slipping or sliding. 

Read More: How to secure an extension ladder

Hopefully, this guide will help you use your ladder on uneven ground in the safest possible way. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about our ladders or their uses.