As homeowners, there’s one tool we use on a regular basis to help us complete projects and simple tasks in, around and outside our homes... our handy ladders! Even though ladders are relatively easy to use, over 700 ladder-related injuries occur everyday and more than 50 thousand injuries involving ladders occur each year. Two of the most common ladder accidents are missing the last step when climbing down and overreaching. So let’s go over a few ladder safety tips from the American Ladder Institute to keep you moving onward and upward… safely!
3 TIPS TO STEP UP SAFELY
#1. Find the Right Ladder for the Job! For tasks that are under 8 feet, a step stool is a great choice. These are 36 inches or less, non-adjustable and all steps including the Top Cap can be stood on.
Another common ladder is an A-Frame ladder. They range from 4 to 20 feet in length and are pretty handy for changing a smoke detector or painting a room inside your home.
Everyone knows the third type - an extension ladder! Cleaning gutters or taking down holiday decorations is a lot easier when you have a ladder that gets you high enough to safely reach the task! Just make sure you don’t go any higher than four rungs from the top.
And the fourth type is an articulated ladder. They can function as an extension ladder but these ladders really shine because they are an all-in-one ladder. The 90-degree position is great since the ladder can be positioned closer to the wall. These ladders can even be used on stairs or as a two-sided, two-person A-Frame!
As you can see there’s a ladder for every task, just remember that most common ladder falls happen due to not paying attention or not following the rules for safe ladder use. So be careful and read all of the warning and instruction labels on your ladder before using.
#2. Inspect your ladder! Double check that the rungs, rails, connections and fasteners are secure. And be sure to wear slip-resistant work shoes for ample support when climbing or standing on the rungs or steps. .
#3. Pay Attention! Make sure your ladder is on firm, level ground and that you’re using three points of contact when climbing up or down. Overreaching is also very dangerous, so set up your ladder close to your work and keep your body centered between the side rails. And please pay attention and be careful when climbing down the ladder. Missing the last step can result in serious injury or death.
So make sure to stay safe and use these Ladder Safety Month tips all year long! For more information, including ALI’s complimentary Ladder Safety Training program, check out laddersafetymonth.com.