One of the most commonly used tools in Home Repair and Maintenance is the ladder. Because ladders are so commonplace, their safety precautions are often not followed. It is estimated that up to 65,000 people a year encounter significant injuries while using a ladder. Here are some tips for working safely on a ladder:
PRE USE CHECKS
Read and follow the manufacturer's warning stickers attached to the ladder It is amazing how few people read this information. Take 2 minutes and read them.
Before use, check the ladder for defects, loose connections, or broken pieces. Do not use ladder if found.
If you have a fear of heights - STOP - don't climb a ladder if you are afraid of heights. Let someone else do it.
CARRYING THE LADDER
Carry the ladder balanced horizontally, never up and down.
Watch your step while carrying the ladder to avoid tripping hazards.
USING THE LADDER
Do not use the top step for standing or stepping.
Always face the ladder while ascending or descending.
Only carry tools or supplies in belts or pouches around the waist, never in the hands.
Only 1 person on a ladder at a time.
Never use a ladder in wet conditions, you will not have enough stability.
Rest your ladder on firm and level ground.
Do NOT lean from side to side while on ladder, keep your hips within the rails.
When you lean the ladder against a wall, make sure that the distance from the top of the ladder to the ground is 4 TIMES the distance of the wall to the bottom of the ladder. The below example, the base wall distance is 4 times the floor distance.
Whenever possible, have someone hold the ladder while you are on the ladder. This will aid in stability.
If you feel that your ladder in not steady while climbing, go back down and move the ladder to a firm and level position and try again. If you can not get a steady position, DO NOT CLIMB the ladder.
Always maintain 3 points of contact with the ladder (2 feet/1 hand or 2 hands/1 foot should be in contact with ladder at all times).
Follow the simple safety tips above and listen to common sense while using a ladder. No one wants to fall from any distance especially when it can be avoided.