Normally, you’d find a string hanging from the cover of the stairway. For outside locations that might present a bit of a security issue. A quick pad lock will help secure the hatch. Done…unless there was NO string to pull!
I’ve lost count of the number of homes I’ve inspected that have folding stairway built into the hallway or laundry room ceiling. More often than not the folding legs are not trimmed to the correct length or properly secured to the framing.