Stairways can be one of the most challenging places to work at height. The size restrictions mean that ladders are usually the only form of access equipment that can be used, but standard ladders are not designed to be used on stairs which can make them unsafe and put you at risk of falling.

Nevertheless, if you need to carry out work at height there is usually no safe way to do so other than using a ladder. Stairways still need a huge range of tasks such as painting, wallpapering, changing lights and painting ceilings, all of which will require a ladder to work safely. That means that you are going to need to invest in the correct type of ladder.

The right ladder for the job

The ladder that you need in order to work on a stairway is a combination ladder. Specifically designed to be used in situations with uneven levels, these provide the perfect solution to allow you to work safely. You do not need to have years of experience – these ladders can be easily set up by anyone as long as the correct instructions are followed. And using a combination ladder is broadly the same as any other ladder.

If you need to carry out work on a stairway, do not try to find a different workaround. Simply invest in a high quality combination ladder to ensure that you are working at height in the safest way possible. 

Setting up a combination ladder

To safely set up a combination ladder on the stairs, use the following step-by-step guide:

  1. Consult the instructions from the manufacturer – different ladders may have specific procedures that need to be followed for correct assembly
  2. Enlist the help of someone else
  3. For most standard combination ladders, the first step is to remove the extension piece from the ladder and then stand it up with the stabilising bar at the top of the stairs
  4. Hinge the base and the mid-section of the ladder so that they are in the step ladder format. You can then add the extension piece upside down to the back of the mid-section
  5. Check the rung hooks are facing upwards and outwards
  6. Once the ladder is set up you can stand the extension piece on a step lower from the one that you are going to work on, then you can adjust the locking bars
  7. Ensure that you follow sensible health and safety precautions as you would when using any other ladder. For example, you should place the ladder’s feet as far away from edges as possible to ensure that they are always secure
  8. If you are working on your own you should tie the ladder to a bannister to make sure that it will not slip