Ladders pose a risk of injury if not used, stored and maintained properly.
Using a ladder is much safer than balancing on boxes or chairs to gain height. But there's still a risk you could fall and be injured. Assemble any ladder correctly, make sure it is steady and use it safely.
Before you buy a ladder
- Discuss what you'll use the ladder for with the retailer so they can advise the best ladder to meet your needs.
- Check your ladder meets a relevant safety standard (AS/NZS 1892.1:1996 is the most common standard).
- Ask the retailer to demonstrate how to use the ladder properly before you buy. Pay particular attention to features that indicate when hinges are locked.
How to use a ladder safely
- Read the instructions carefully and practise opening and closing the ladder until you are confident that it is operating correctly and safely.
- Check you have assembled the ladder correctly, and read the instructions for use:
- Make sure all locking clips are secure.
- A stepladder should have its 2 stay bars firmly in place.
- If in doubt, don't use your ladder — go back to the retailer or seek professional advice.
Check the condition of your ladder
- If it's rusty, parts are missing, or security bars or clips aren’t working properly, don't use it.
- If parts are worn or not working properly, repair or replace them.
- Tighten any loose bolts.
Make sure your ladder is steady
- Stand the ladder on a firm, level base.
- If the ground is uneven, use a suitable block or board to keep the ladder upright and stable.
- Wear sturdy shoes, and don't use a ladder barefoot.
- Lock any doors you're working around so no-one can open a door into your ladder and tip you over.
Keep away from live electricity
- Keep metal ladders and metal parts well away from live electricity outlets.
- Have your electricity retailer shut off the power if you need to work close to electric lines.
- Remember, metal ladders and wooden ladders with metal parts conduct electricity.
Climbing and descending
- Face the ladder when climbing and descending.
- Don't use the top two steps of the ladder.
- Have a helper hold the lower part of the ladder whenever possible.
- Keep your body centred between the rails of the ladder at all times or you may lose your balance.
- Move the ladder to continue a task — don't over reach.
- Remember the “1 in 4” safety rule if you're leaning the ladder — the bottom should be 1 measure out for every 4 measures in height.
- Maintain 3 points of contact when climbing up or down — use 2 hands and 1 foot, or 2 feet and 1 hand.
Storing your ladder
- Before you put the ladder away, check that it's clean and dry.
- Keep children safe — store your ladder away after use.
- Keep your house safe — don't leave your ladder outside.
Reporting an issue with a ladder
If you have a safety problem or concern with a ladder, let us know.
Under the Consumer Guarantees Act you can get a refund, replacement or compensation if goods are unsafe. The Consumer Protection website has more information about what to do when you have a problem with goods.