Ladder Safety


Many projects around the home require a reach to high places.  But before you pull out a box, swivel chair, or other dangerous device, keep in mind that the number one home injury comes from falling.  The correct way to get to any high place is of course to use a ladder.

Most ladders that you get at any quality home improvement store can generally allow you to complete your project, but you must keep some safety rules in mind.

First, make sure the ladder is rated for the load you’ll be putting on it.  The typical step ladder is rated for 250 pounds, which may seem like a lot until you factor in tools you may have placed on the ladder or on your tool belt, and the fact that you may be moving a heavy object in the course of your work.  If you are (or could be) exceeding this limit buy a higher rated ladder (the rating will be indicated on the side).

Second, if you’re using a wooden ladder check for cracks or splits before you start.  A cracked ladder is a recipe for disaster and needs to be discarded immediately.  There is no correct way to fix a split ladder.  Also, don’t ever paint a wooden ladder, as this will hide splits.

Third, don’t ever exceed the rung limit on a stepladder.  There are plenty of warnings telling you to not step on the top and sometimes not even on the next to top rung.  Don’t ignore these warnings as stepping too high on a stepladder will greatly increase your chances of falling.

And finally, make sure you use the right ladder.  A stepladder is appropriate when you’re in the middle of the room and you’re working on a light or ceiling fan.  But if you’re putting up Christmas lights on the edge of the roof, get an extension ladder and don’t use a stepladder leaning against the roof.  The feet on a stepladder are not designed for this use.

Keep these safety tips in mind and you’ll complete that chore without any bumps, bruises, or trips to the emergency room.

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