About this seminar  

Roof tilers use ladders every day. So how do they manage the risks associated and ensure their own and others’ safety?

Firstly, it’s important to consider that ladders should not be used as a first resort, and where possible, workers should use other equipment or systems to get their materials up to the roof.

Before starting any job, conduct a pre-job assessment – check whether your workers are appropriately trained, and ensure they are using the correct ladder before tackling any roof-tiling job. Then, turn your focus to on-the-ground conditions and move up and down the ladder with three points of contact during the duration of the job.

It is also important to note that not all ladders are the same, and don’t use a stepladder to access the roof.

Who is this seminar for?

Roof tilers and anyone in the construction industry who uses a ladder as part of their work responsibilities. 

About the presenters 

Roof Tiling Association of Australia

Additional resources


Safe Ladder Use

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[Opening visual of slide text saying ‘Brought to you by Safe Work Australia Virtual Seminar Series’, seminars.swa.gov.au, ‘#virtualWHS’]


Falling from a ladder is one of the most common causes of injury across the construction industry, and we as roof tilers have to live with and manage this risk daily.

Here are some key things to remember and apply when using a ladder so that we all get to go home safely every day.

Step 1, pre-job assessment. The key part of starting any job, large or small, is to go through a thorough pre-start process. As part of the pre-start, make sure everyone on your crew is qualified, trained and experienced in what they will be doing, and everyone knows what to do that day. Check with your supervisor if you’re not sure. A quick call can help prevent injuries and accidents.

Check the area where you’re going to be using a ladder for any hazards and risks that may affect you, putting the best controls in place before starting work. Make sure everyone on the crew is fully aware of and familiar with the emergency response plan in case someone does have a fall.

Step 2, choosing your ladder. Industrial grade straight ladders are a must in our industry, so check the label on your ladder to make sure you’re using one. The ladder needs to be in good condition and well maintained.

Step 3, setting up your straight ladder. Let’s look at setting up your industrial straight ladder which you’ll use almost every day at work. Level ground conditions are the first thing to consider when setting up your ladder. Check that you set up on a solid base and on material that will not allow the ladder to slip.

Secure the bottom of the ladder or have someone hold the bottom of your ladder before you climb it to secure the top. The ladder needs to be set up at a one in four ratio to provide safe movement on to and off the roof. For single storey homes, that is approximately 750 millimetres out from the gutter line.

You also must set up an approved access point, and the ladder must extend at least 900 millimetres past your step off point on the roof. Furthermore, the regulation may actually be one metre in some states, so check with your supervisor if you’re not sure.

Step 4, safe use of the ladder. Once you’ve safely set up, it’s important that only one person is on the ladder at a time, and that they always go up and down with three points of contact. Where possible, you should use other equipment or systems to get materials up to the roof.

Where you need to work off a ladder, stay at least 900 millimetres below the top of the ladder, and as a rule of thumb, work with your belt buckle between the ladder stiles at all times to prevent overbalancing.

And finally, as you finish your job and look at taking down your ladder, get someone to hold the bottom while you unsecure the top and come down.

The roof tiling industry does not recommend using a step ladder to access the roof.

By remembering and following these key steps when using ladders, we can all go home safely every day.

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[Text: ‘Workers are qualified and competent’, ‘Industrial grade ladder’, ‘Secure the bottom before the top’, ‘Set up at approved access points’, ‘Remain at least 900mm below from the top of the ladder’, ‘Never carry materials up the ladder’, ‘Stepladders are not recommended for roof access’, ‘RTAA’, ‘Roofing Tile Association of Australia’]

Think smart before you start. Keep safety in mind. It will save your behind.

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[Text: ‘Proudly produced for the Roofing Tile Association of Australia by CodeSafe Solutions in consultation with Safe Work Australia’]

[Closing visual of slide text saying ‘Brought to you by Safe Work Australia Virtual Seminar Series’, seminars.swa.gov.au, ‘#virtualWHS’]

[End of Transcript]

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