It’s a common thing to find ladders in homes because of the crucial role they play when it comes to DIY home repair and maintenance. Most homeowners utilize them to reach the seemingly far and unreachable areas of their homes such as the roof, high ceilings, or gutters.
However, just like any other tool, ladders do pose risks of accidents to the user. In fact, millions of Americans are rushed to emergency rooms every year as a result of ladder-related injuries. Don’t become a tragic statistic.
Therefore, ladder use calls for special attention at all times when they are in use. Reading and familiarizing yourself with all the safety tips is the best way to start out on your project, as this will help you avoid serious (or even fatal) injury.
Remember that prevention is always better than cure, so here are a few smart ladder safety tips.
Top 7 DIY ladder safety tips
1. Assess the Ladder
Always ensure that the ladder is in good shape. This entails checking on the ladder’s steps, rungs, and the feet to make sure that there aren’t any damaged parts before you put the ladder to use. In addition, check all fastenings and screws to make sure there is nothing loose and tighten up any as needed. In case you’re using a metal ladder, ensure the slip-resistant feet are intact to avoid any accidents.
2. Install the ladder on a stable surface
Ensure the installation is done on a dry and level ground. You obviously don’t want to sustain injuries in the process of your work. This means that installing the ladder on snow, ice, mud would be a no-go for you. Indoors, the same applies to slippery vinyl or plastic drop cloths. Long story short, avoid any slippery surface inside or out!
3. Use the right ladder for the intended task
This is important and as easy as reading the safety manual.
Never use metal ladders when handling power tools while on the ladder as electrical shock may occur and the startling zinging effect may send you down to the ground and lead to severe injury. Instead, use a non-conductive insulated ladder when handling electrical tasks.
This rule also applies to the use of wet wood ladders.
4. Educate people on what you’re doing
You may consider setting up warning signs just to ensure that people are fully aware that there is work going on. Also, ensure that you don’t use the ladder in a way that endangers the lives of others. In addition, have a helper watch out for you as you are using the ladder. Let your helper remain on the ground and alert people passing by that they should move around the ladder.
5. Ensure your body is within the vertical rails
Avoid overstretching or trying to reach for things away from the ladder as this may cause you to fall. Ensure that you have every tool you intend to use. You can create a simple tool hoisting system through the use of a rope or belt tied to a bucket.
6. Ensure the ladder is set up properly
Never set up a ladder in front of a door that opens towards it. However, if this situation is unavoidable, then ensure the door is locked, guarded or blocked altogether. Nobody should shift or move the ladder while in use. Remember that helper who is watching out for you? He or she should be especially vigilant in this scenario.
7. Be extra careful while on the ladder
No two people should be on the ladder at any given time, unless the ladder is designed for more than one person. This is because two people may cause imbalance, leading to a fall. Also, ensure that you maintain having your hands on the ladder when climbing up and getting down the ladder. Always climb while facing the ladder.
It’s without a doubt that ladders are vital tools when it comes to the maintenance and repair of any home. However, research has shown that they’re one of the leading causes of home deaths—which are almost always a result of falling.
But what triggers the falling? It could be the poor condition of the ladder, poor location and set up of the ladder, or even lack of knowledge of the ladder’s proper use. Reading and familiarizing yourself with ladder safety tips is one sure way to get started to avoid such accidents.