Commissioner's Blog: There are no shortcuts to the top – ladder safety explained

On average, more than 30 Australians die each year, and over 6,000 are hospitalised with injuries, from ladder falls.

The injuries can be serious and life altering with people suffering fractured limbs, spinal cord damage and severe brain injuries. Sadly, the majority of people killed or injured were men aged over 45 years.

Consumer Protection’s Product Safety team are urging people to make safety a top priority while using ladders around the home. Whether it’s cleaning the gutters, changing light bulbs, hanging decorations or just taking care of projects around the home - safe use means proper use.

It’s often the split-second decision or risky shortcut that results in a fall. Taking a few extra minutes to assess and set up the job safely could save you a trip to hospital or even your life.

Make sure the ladder is the right height and design for the job and check it is in good condition. Also check the ladder’s weight capacity so you know it can hold you, this can be found on the ladder itself or in the manufacturer’s advice.

Take off the ugg boots or thongs and put on sturdy, slip resistant shoes. Take time to set up your ladder on a firm, flat surface and lock the spreaders. Ask someone to hold the ladder and keep your body centred between the siderails as you climb. Always maintain three points of contact, this means two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand. Only carry items up and down that allow you the maintain the three points of contact and don’t over reach as this can lead to losing balance.

Don’t stand above the second step from the top on a step ladder or the third rung on an extension ladder. If the job you’re doing is outside, don’t work in wet or windy conditions.

Lastly, don’t become a statistic Consumer Protection talks about next year. Know you limits and work to your ability. Sometimes you may need to accept the job is safer left to a professional.

A number of ladders have been recalled over the years due to faults that can contribute to an accident. Even if it’s an older purchase, take a moment to check to see if your ladder has been recalled.

If you spot an issue with a ladder, report it to our Product Safety team via the form at, or call 1300 30 40 54. Your reports can assist us in identifying safety issues with products and this helps keep consumers safe.

Consumer Protection
Media release
20 Jun 2024

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