Australian Standard AS1657-2018

Rung Ladders


  • The maximum height a step ladder can extend between landings is 6 m.
  • Step ladders incline angle nominally between 70° and 90° but it is preferred to design them between 70° and 75°
  • The width of the step ladder between the stiles is 375mm to 525mm.
  • The stile may be of any shape, provided it fits within a circle 40mm≤ dia ≤ 80mm.


  • The minimum clearance required for a rung ladder is 200mm from the back edge of the rung to any structure behind it.
  • Front clearance shall be a distance of 750mm from the nosing of the rung measured at perpendicular to the ladder.
  • At the sides, clearance is 350mm from the centre-line of the ladder at 135° angle from the stiles.   
  • Minimum headroom is typically 2000mm, this may need to be increased if helmets are worn.
  • The hand clearance for stiles shall be not less than 50mm. 

DIMENSIONS/details of Rung

  • The rungs diameter shall be 20mm ≤ dia ≤ 50mm.
  • For ladders greater than 1m, a rung spacing 250 mm ≤ spacing ≤  300 mm. tolerance of ±5 mm or better.
  • The distance between the bottom rung/tread and the bottom landing shall be 90% to 100% of the rung spacing
  • The top rung shall be level with, or be integrated into, the landing.
  • Rungs shall be securely connected to the stiles and shall not rotate.
  • The surface of rungs shall be slip resistant.


  • The width of the landing shall be not less than 600mm.
  • Landing length shall provide standing space ≤600mm clear of cross-traffic, door swing or any other structure.
  • Top landing length shall be ≤900 from the front of the ladder.
  • The maximum permissible cross-slope at bottom landing is 7°


  • The maximum height a step ladder can extend between landing with out added protection is 6m ≥70° to 75° and 4.5m for ≥75° to 90° otherwise a multiple step ladders with an intermediate landings are required.  To limit the distance a person could fall, a change of direction by 180°, or staggering at each landing is required. All ladders are to be same in multiple-flight ladders.
  • Where a person could fall more than 6 m to a level below, the step ladder must be fitted with a side screen, or a ladder cage to prevent fall.
  • Where the above measures cannot be practicable other means can be implemented such as utilising a fall-arrest system complying with AS/NZS 1891.


  • Refer to the standard.