Ladders are acceptable only for access or work of short duration.

They should be:

  • erected at correct angle (4 up to 1 out)
  • secured (preferably at top) or footed
  • positioned close to the work to avoid over-reaching
  • sufficiently protected at the base of any ladder or access equipment to prevent pedestrians or vehicles bumping into them.


When using stepladders the following precautions should be taken:

  • always spread them to their full extent and lock them off
  • do not work on the top platform
  • do not use the top tread, tool shelf or rear part of the steps as a foot support
  • only one person should be on the ladder at any one time
  • the ladder must be appropriate and of the correct grade for the intended use.

Mobile elevated platforms

  • use the platform only on level, firm ground
  • only use the equipment with outriggers and stabilizers
  • work with a trained operator at ground level
  • safety harnesses must be worn while on the platform
  • keep the platform within safe working limits and radius, taking account of wind speeds.

Scaffold towers

Scaffold towers should:

  • be erected by a competent person
  • have a height to base dimension ratio not exceeding 3 to 1 indoors, or 2.5 to 1 outdoors
  • have stabilizers deployed as necessary to meet the correct height to base ratio
  • use outriggers or stabilizers if above 2.5 m high
  • have all casters firmly locked before use
  • have ladder access to the working platform
  • never be moved while the tower is occupied
  • be regularly inspected and maintained.

Safety lines, harnesses and nets

Fall restraint and arrest equipment such as nets, airbags and harnesses, etc. should only be considered as a last resort when no other means are reasonably practicable.

They should only be used and erected by trained operatives and tested and inspected regularly.

Source: The Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives