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If ladders are used they must be selected to suit the task to be undertaken. In doing this, you should consider the duration of the task, the physical surroundings of where the task is to be undertaken and the prevailing weather conditions.
Ladders used for commercial purposes should have a load rating of at least 120 kg and be manufactured for industrial use.
Any ladder used at a workplace must be set up on a surface that is solid and stable, and set up so as to prevent the ladder from slipping.
Slipping of ladders can be prevented by:
placing single and extension ladders at a slope of 4:1, and setting up stepladders in the fully opened position, and securing single and extension ladders at either the top or bottom, or if necessary, at both ends.
See below some effective ways of securing a ladder
Persons using ladders must not:
• handle or use ladders where it is possible for the worker or the ladder to make contact with energised power lines, except where the person is qualified to do so
• use metal or metal reinforced ladders when working on live electrical installations
• set up the ladder in places, such as driveways and doorways, where a person or vehicle could hit it. If necessary, erect a barrier or lock the door shut
• use a stepladder near the edge of an open floor, penetration, or on scaffolding to gain extra height
• over-reach (the worker’s belt buckle must be within the ladder stiles throughout the work)
• use any power (air, hydraulic, electric or battery) equipment or tool, specifically designed to be operated with two hands, such as concrete cutting saws and circular saws
• use tools which require a high degree of leverage type force which, if released, may cause the user to over balance or fall from the ladder, such as pinch bars
• carry out work such as arc welding or oxy cutting
• work over other people, or
• allow anyone else to be on the ladder at the same time.
Except where additional and appropriate fall protection equipment is used in conjunction with the ladder, any person using a ladder must not:
• face away from the ladder when going up or down, or when working from it
• stand on a rung closer than 900mm to the top of a single or extension ladder, or
• stand higher than the second tread below the top plate of any stepladder (with the exception of 3-rung step ladders).