Trestles and Stepladders

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Trestles and stepladders are often misused and many accidents have occurred.

Folding trestles

  • Use for light work and short duration only.
  • Check for damaged bearer, hinges or stiles before use.
  • Use lightweight staging for the platforms. If normal scaffold boards are used, support at 1.2 metre centres.
  • Before erecting a trestle, ensure ground is stable and level.
  • Don’t increase the height of the platform by using hop-ups.
  • The platform must be a least 600 mm wide.

Adjustable trestles

  • Ensure the correct pins are used when the height is raised, don’t use a re-bar or nails.
  • If using normal scaffold boards, space stands 1.2 metres apart.
  • If used with lightweight staging, check allowable loads.
  • If it’s possible to fall guard-rails and toes boards must be fitted.
  • Ensure you have a tied ladder or access to the trestle.


  • Can a mobile scaffold tower or MEWP be used instead?
  • Check treads, stiles and hinges and restraining rope before using a stepladder.
  • If the stepladder is damaged, either destroy or return to the supplier.
  • Use on a firm level base.
  • Don’t work higher than two-thirds up stepladder (hand-hold).
  • Don’t use boards between the treads on steps to provide a working platform – they are not designed for this loading.
  • Don’t paint wooden steps, use clear varnish.
  • Don’t lean outwards or sideways from the steps, move them.
  • Ensure steps are fully extended before you go up.
  • Report all damage immediately.




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