Tis the season! With Christmas fast approaching, holiday decorating is in full swing. Whether you’re decorating the tree, hanging outdoor lights, or simply removing those unsightly leaves from your gutter, ladder safety is important.
According to the Consumer Safety Product Commission, thousands of people end up in the hospital every year due to decorating-related injuries. 41% of those injuries involve falls.
Here are some safety tips to make sure you can enjoy the holidays at home with friends and family, instead of in the ER.
Inspect Your Ladder
You should always inspect your ladder at every use, but especially if you haven’t handled it in a while. From regular wear and tear to storage-related damage, there are a lot of issues that might cause your ladder to be unsafe. Check for things like loose screws, hinges and rungs, and wipe off anything, like grease, that might cause you to slip and fall.
Choose the Proper Size Ladder for the Job
Ladders come in a variety of sizes and styles, and choosing the right one is essential for safe use. One factor to consider is the weight limit. Every ladder has a maximum weight it can support (anywhere from 200lbs – 375lbs), and that includes you and any equipment you’re carrying. In addition, consider the ladder type and height. A step ladder would be appropriate for inside the house, while a combination or extension ladder would be more appropriate for outside. If you’re working on the roof, make sure your ladder extends at least 3ft above the edge.
Set the Ladder Up Correctly
Proper ladder set-up is essential for any job, as misuse can lead to injury. Never use your ladder in any way other than how the manufacturer intended. Some key points to remember are:
· Always place your ladder on level ground.
· Don’t try to lengthen or extend it in any way.
· Don’t lean your ladder against anything.
· When using a step ladder, open completely and lock into place.
- When using an extension ladder, make sure you have the correct angle between the ladder and the house.
Always Use Your Ladder Properly
It can be tempting to hang off the side of your ladder to try to get that star on top of the tree, but it’s also dangerous. Improper ladder use leads to more injuries than anything else. Use these common-sense tips to help keep you safe:
- Have someone else stand at the bottom to assist you, if you can.
- No more than one person should ever be on the ladder at the same time.
- Use caution if your ladder is set up by a doorway: either lock the door so it can’t be opened, or place a sign to warn others.
- Keep three points of contact on the ladder at all times.
- Don’t try to climb too high, and never stand on top of the ladder.
Finally, Keep Safety in Mind
When you’re on a ladder, always have your next move in mind. Plan what you’re going to do in your head before you actually do it, and then proceed with caution. If you’re going to be outdoors, avoid rain, snow, wind, or other inclement weather, and always wear dry, slip-resistant shoes. And, obviously, never use a table, chair, desk, or any other non-ladder item as a ladder.
Keep these tips in mind for a safe, accident-free holiday season!