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Staying Safe With Roof Ladders

Pitched roofs are possibly the most dangerous part of your home, even with the introduction of the Work at Height Regulations, introduced in 2005 when around 1,200 major injuries and 13 fatalities happened while using portable ladders. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), roofers make up 24% of all those who are killed in accidents when working from a height; thatís more than any other category. Huge advances have been made since 2005 in the design of portable roof ladders, making them safer than ever before. Portable roof ladders are definitely the only way to access the top of your house, and for that reason youíll find them used across many industries including construction and building maintenance, whenever temporary access is required for a pitched roof.

Our guide below should help you to stay safe before using a roof ladder.

 If you have any questions or queries please call our friendly support team on
01307 462 255


Surprisingly there isnít a standard specifically for roof ladders, although all other types of ladders have both British and European standards. The British Standards Institution (BSI) started to develop one in 2016 along with the Ladder Association and the HSE.

All ladders, and portable ladders used in construction have to meet the standards of BS 2037 Class 1 and for most home DIY purposes the standard BS EN131 is fine.

Design aspects

When it comes to working on a roof you definitely want to invest in the safest, most reliable equipment. Roof ladders have strong hooks that are fitted to keep the ladder steady over the peak of the roof. Wheels allow you to move the ladder up the roof easily, without damaging roof tiles or slates. A roof ladder also provides a base for you to work from, as it is also important for safety reasons. It isnít safe to step directly on slates or tiles, especially when the weather has been damp or raining as they become particularly slippery. With a roof ladder, you have a secure passage.


In addition to a roof ladder, you will need some sort of protection or extension from the edge of the roof. A roof ladder canít be used on its own, so you'll need either an extension ladder that extends to at least three rungs above the gutter level, or supports that are up to the eaves-edge level. It is possible to use an ordinary ladder and convert it into a roof ladder. For this, you need a kit with a roof hook. This roof hook will attach to the top of either a single or extension ladder, making it a cost effective way to get a roof ladder. But dedicated ones offer more features, and are safer. 

Work safety

If the roof ladder is a tool for your work or trade then there are a few extras you need to take into consideration.

The ladders need to be inspected regularly and tagged with Ladder Log Inspection Tags. A complete safety kit that includes all the essential items from a full body harness to ladder tie bolts is a wise investment.



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