Do the new Work at Height Regulations 2005 ban the use of ladders?
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 do not ban ladders. They require that ladders should only be considered where a risk assessment has shown that the use of other more suitable work equipment is not appropriate because of the low risk, and short duration of the task or considerations of where the work is located.
HSC accepts the practicalities of the use of ladders for work at height, and the fact that they are commonly used in a wide variety of situations. Ladders are used in almost all employment sectors, sometimes for purposes other than those for which they were designed. Schedule 6 of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 deals with the requirements for ladders and states: ’Schedule 6 Requirements for Ladders: Every employer shall ensure that a ladder is used for work at height only if a risk assessment under regulation 3 of the Management Regulations has demonstrated that the use of more suitable work equipment is not justified because of the low risk and - the short duration of use; or existing features on site which he cannot alter. Any surface upon which a ladder rests shall be stable, firm, of sufficient strength and of suitable composition safely to support the ladder so that its rungs or steps remain horizontal, and any loading intended to be placed on it. A ladder shall be so positioned as to ensure its stability during use. A suspended ladder shall be attached in a secure manner and so that, with the exception of a flexible ladder, it cannot be displaced and swinging is prevented. A portable ladder shall be prevented from slipping during use by - securing the stiles at or near their upper or lower ends; an effective anti-slip or other effective stability device; or any other arrangement of equivalent effectiveness. A ladder used for access shall be long enough to protrude sufficiently above the place of landing to which it provides access, unless other measures have been taken to ensure a firm handhold. No interlocking or extension ladder shall be used unless its sections are prevented from moving relative to each other while in use. A mobile ladder shall be prevented from moving before it is stepped on. Where a ladder or run of ladders rises a vertical distance of 9 metres or more above its base, there shall, where reasonably practicable, be provided at suitable intervals sufficient safe landing areas or rest platforms. Every ladder shall be used in such a way that - a secure handhold and secure support are always available to the user; and the user can maintain a safe handhold when carrying a load unless, in the case of a step ladder, the maintenance of a handhold is not practicable when a load is carried, and a risk assessment under regulation 3 of the Management Regulations has demonstrated that the use of a stepladder is justified because of - the low risk; and the short duration of use.’ Reference: Work at Height Regulations 2005. The Statutory Instrument can be downloaded from [The Working at Height Regulations 2005: A brief guide](http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg401.htm) (INDG401). Alternatively, hard copies are available from HSE Books.