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21 Feb 2024

Leaning Ladder Safety Checks – How to Check a Leaning Ladder Before Use

Leaning ladders are commonly used in various tasks, ranging from household chores and DIY to more heavy-duty construction work. No matter how frequently you use your leaning ladder, it’s always important to carry out the necessary safety checks before ascending.

Whether you’re a professional tradesperson or a DIY enthusiast, ensuring your leaning ladder is safe for use should always be a priority. In this blog, we’ll outline the essential safety checks you need to perform before using a leaning ladder, helping you minimize the risk of accidents and injuries.

Leaning Ladder Checks

  1. Visual Inspection – begin by visually inspecting the entire ladder. Look for any signs of damage such as cracks, dents, rusting, or missing rungs. Pay attention to the ladders feet and ensure they are intact and not excessively worn. If you spot any visible damage, refrain from using the ladder until repaired or replaced.

  2. Stability – before climbing, make sure the ladder is stable and secure. When using a leaning ladder, you should place it on a flat, level surface, and ensure there are no obstacles or debris underneath. Test the stability of the ladder by gently rocking it from side to side. If it wobbles excessively, readjust its position or choose a different ladder.

  3. Angle – the angle at which you lean the ladder against a surface is crucial for stability. The ideal angle is around 75 degrees. You can easily check this by standing with your toes touching feet of the ladder and extending your arms. Your palms should reach the ladder’s rungs comfortably. If the angle is too steep or too shallow, adjust the ladder accordingly. You can also achieve the optimal ladder angle by using the 4:1 ratio – you can read more about that in our blog: What is the '1 in 4' Rule?

  4. Situation Suitability – is this the right ladder for your work situation? There are a wide number of different types of leaning ladder, each suited for different types of work. For example, a fibreglass ladder is well suited for those working around electrical hazards, and heavy-duty ladders with increased weight capacity are suited to those who will be handling heavy loads. Consider such factors as these, and make sure that the leaning ladder you’re using is suitable for your current working environment.

  5. Environment – before using a leaning ladder, consider environmental factors that could come into play, such as heavy wind and weather conditions when working out of doors. Other environmental factors that could potentially pose a risk to the ladder user includes traffic (road traffic, pedestrian foot traffic, etc), and whether the floor surface is level with no slip risks.


By following these safety checks before using a leaning ladder, you can minimise the risk of accidents and ensure a safer work environment. Remember, safety should always come first, and it’s better to take the time to perform thorough safety checks rather than risk injury or damage.

So, the next time you reach for your leaning ladder, take a moment to inspect it properly – your safety may depend on it.

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Read More: Step Ladder Inspection Checklist