2.3.2 Ladders and tower scaffolds Many accidents are caused every year by the misuse of ladders, with the most common problems being defective ladders, ladders slipping at the top or bottom, or ladders sinking unevenly into soft ground. Always follow this safety code: • Check the condition of the ladder carefully, particularly if it is borrowed. Do not use ladders that are damaged or incomplete. Avoid borrowing ladders wherever possible. • Do not use a wooden ladder that has been painted, as this can hide defects. • Erect the ladder at a 75° angle, 1 metre out for every 4 metres of height. • Place the ladder on a firm footing and use a nonslip foot on smooth surfaces. • Ladders should either be tied firmly in place or held at the bottom by an assistant. Tying the ladder at the top is probably the safest method. • Do not overreach. Your body should not move outside the line of the ladder. • Use both hands when climbing. Tools or equipment should be carried in a belt or rucksack. • Watch out for overhead power or telephone cables. • Erect the ladder taking full account of site conditions, e.g. exposure, weather, movement of persons or vehicles. • Make certain the ladder reaches at least 1 metre above any landing platform. • Use the correct ladder for the job. Never lash two short ladders together to make a longer one. • When using an extension ladder allow a two-rung overlap for sections up to 5 metres each and a four-rung overlap for 6 metres. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) advise that any ladder reaching a height of more than 9 metres vertically should have safe landing areas and platforms.