Ladders – product safety

How to choose a ladder, assemble it correctly and use it safely.

What you need to know

  • 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.

What you need to do

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 and AS 1892:2018 are the most common standards).

Using a ladder 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.
  • 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.

If you have a safety problem or concern

If you have some concerns about the safety of a product or if you’re injured by a product, you should tell the retailer or supplier about it.

You also have the right to ask for a remedy such as a refund, replacement or repair under the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA). One of the guarantees in the CGA is that products must be of acceptable quality and this includes that the product is safe.

Faulty products – Consumer Protection(external link)

In addition, it’s good to report the details to us – product safety reports from the public help government agencies to identify systemic issues and help us to prioritise and respond to issues.

Report an unsafe product