Ladder Safety Tips From The Ladder Safety Professor

Ladders are used for many different tasks in every day work. Whether you use a stepladder to get a few extra inches to pull something off a higher shelf, or an extension ladder to climb up to your roof, they are a common tool that everyone should know about. While ladder use may see intuitive, there are some tips and tricks that may not come to mind when first picking up your ladder in preparation for your tasks. In this article, we’ll give you a few tidbits to make sure that you do not end up injuring yourself. Safety is the number one thing we strive for, after all.

Height Given Versus Height Needed

While you might be happy with a ladder that reaches to the top of the shelving or a fair amount of trees, unless there’s enough of the ladder above where you want to reach, it is unsafe. A good rule of thumb is to give at least three feet more to the top of the ladder, whether you’re climbing up onto a roof, or merely clipping overgrown branches. This gives your ladder more stability and helps keep it from buckling as you climb up or down. This provides you with the safety you need from shaking, which can cause you to fall.

In addition, you will do better if you buy a ladder that is a few feet taller than you might feel is necessary. While a twenty-four foot ladder will generally get you to your gutters on a two story home, it isn’t tall enough to provide you with a safe climb onto the roof. Unless you know you will never need to climb that high, a twenty-eight foot ladder is far better for that purpose.

Positioning

You might have a ladder tall enough to follow the above tip, but if you do not give it a good, stable position on the ground, it will wobble no matter how well you hold it up. To make sure you provide your ladder with the perfect angle, you should stand with your feet touching the bottoms of the ladder feet. Hold your arms out straight and touch the rungs. If you can reach the rungs with the tips of your fingers, then you have a good angle. If not, then you should move the ladder until you can. This provides the bottoms of the ladder with firm ground, giving you a balanced climb up.

Planning Your Route

While using your ladder to get to higher-up areas outside your home, you can come along a good deal of different obstacles. Anything from hanging bird homes, to errant tree limbs, to even power lines may come into your way, and it is a frightening aspect to have to twist around such objects. In addition, the ground may or may not be as stable as required. Planning a route around these hurdles will do a great deal of good in making sure that you do not twist in a way that could send you falling to the ground.

Injury Prevention Tips for Construction Workers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released alarming information regarding construction workers in a 2012 Economic News Release. The study revealed 4,383 work injuries, a number that increased 5 % in comparison to 2011’s findings. This information has caused many in the field to focus on ways to improve safety. Whether renovating a home, installing windows or assisting with commercial building projects; construction workers play a vital role in building America’s most grandiose dreams. If you are in the industry, here are a few tips to keep you safe.

#1 – Prevent Falls from the Start

With over 65 % of those in the construction industry using a scaffold regularly, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, planning for the risk that comes with an elevated project is critical. In fact, planning is one of the simplest ways to prevent injuries. If you are expecting to work on a project that requires you to labor above six feet, you should make sure that you have the proper fall protection equipment such as a safety harness, belt or ascender.
Ladder safety is also significant. Inspect equipment thoroughly beforehand. You should also avoid slippery surfaces, unstable floors and vulnerable edges. Most importantly, never sit on a skylight. When it doubt, never ever take chances above the ground.

#2 – Make Sure That You Are Lifting Properly

The Bureau of Labor Statistics study also reported back problems as the number one complaint among construction workers. You can prevent back injury by knowing how to lift properly. Although you may be strong enough to lift items alone, it is okay to ask a team member for help.
You should also always use equipment to handle large loads. Forklifts, dolly’s and hand trucks were created with your safety in mind. Another common mistake is using your back to lift. Your legs should be used to both lift and turn. Avoid lifting items above your shoulder level and break the load up if necessary.

#3 – Get Good Gear

Safety gear is imperative and helmet use is not up for debate. Helmets are specifically designed to prevent head injuries that can occur in the event of an unexpected fall. If you are required to use a tool belt, be sure to evaluate your set before the job. Make sure that you have the necessary fasteners, nail set, hammer, screwdriver and pencil. Invest in high quality tools that meet current industry standards. Suspenders are another way to save your back if you are using a wide belt.

Boots, glasses and gloves are also essential. Steel toe boots are highly recommended. They can protect your feet from sudden falling objects or sharp items. Boots also serve to stabilize your ankle should you come across a shaky surface. Protecting your hands is also required for using certain equipment or tools. Gloves may or may not be necessary based on the job, but when required do take heed.

These are just a few tips to help you stay safe, but there are tons of other resources available. Don’t be afraid to ask your team members or leaders for help. Asking questions is completely harmless.