Ladders are the #1 source of fall injuries in the U.S. work place. Everyone has a ladder, and many people are not aware of the proper ways to use it safely.
Now that we are beginning the holiday outdoor decorating season (Halloween through Christmas), more people are using their ladders to decorate. Here are a few tips to remembers when using a ladder.
First, you need to inspect your ladder to make sure it is stable: no loose rungs, steps, connections, etc. You also need to be sure the ladder legs are able to give you a level, secure base when extended so you won’t tip. Also, check the weight allowance for the ladder.
Make sure the area where you will be setting up the ladder is free of debris or tools. Should you fall from the ladder, you certainly do not want to fall on a tool that is on the ground- that would cause some serious injury. Also, be sure you bring your tools down with you so they won’t fall on you when you need to move the ladder.
Always stabilize the ladder before climbing. If you are working on uneven ground, or if the ladder feels wobbly, know that the problem will get worse the higher you climb. Try to find a level area to support the ladder, or invest in a specialize ladder that compensates for the unevenness.
Wear proper shoes. Sandals, flip flops or bare feet pose too many risks on a ladder. Sandals & flip flops can get caught on a step or rung and bare feet are too exposed to falling debris or any sharp edges or snags from the ladder.
Ascend and descend the ladder the same way: facing the ladder. Never try to use the back side of the ladder; it is not designed for climbing. Only one person on the ladder at a time. There are specially designed ladder for 2 people, but generally most ladders are built for solo trips.
While climbing or working on the ladder, try to keep your hips positioned between the vertical rails. Leaning to one side or the other is placing yourself and the ladder in an off-balance situation and that could cause a fall or ladder to become unstable.
Never, ever climb, sit or stand on the top rung or step of a ladder. It wouldn’t take much of a movement to cause the ladder to tip with all the weight at the top. And finally, read the directions that came with the ladder, if it is a new one! Happy Decorating!