Each year, more than 164,000 people are treated in U.S. emergency rooms because of injuries directly related to improper ladder use. Most injuries are cuts, bruises, and fractured bones, but some are far more serious, like neck and head injuries.
Take extra precaution this month to avoid falls before decorating your home for the holidays, cleaning out your gutters, or trimming trees or branches. Ladder-related injuries are on the rise, but they can be prevented by following some basic steps.
If you plan to use your ladder for any reason, take extra precaution and take your time! Other tips include:
- Inspect the ladder – Check for any loose screws, hinges, or rungs that may need adjusting or replacing. Also, clean off any mud or other liquids that might have accumulated on the rungs.
- Place ladder on level ground – Then open it completely, making sure all locks are engaged.
- Always face the ladder when climbing – Be sure to wear slip-resistant shoes, such as those with rubber soles.
- Always position ladder close to the work – Overreaching or leaning far to one side could cause you to lose your balance and fall.
- Be careful when climbing – Ask someone to hold the ladder while you climb. Stay in the center of the ladder, and always hold the side rails with both hands.
- Do not stand on the top step or the bucket shelf – The higher you climb on the ladder, the greater the instability.
- Select the right ladder – Use a step stool or utility ladder for low or medium heights. For higher areas like gutters, extension ladders are ideal and provide more stability.