7 Best Ladder Safety Tips
Did you know that every year 500,000 people are treated for ladder-related injuries? The last thing you want for yourself- or anyone else- is to fall off the ladder and truly injure yourself. I care very much for your safety, and so I have built a gutter cleaning tool that allows you to clean your gutters in just a couple minutes without using a ladder and getting on the roof. But, handy men and women like ourselves, can’t always avoid using a ladder when doing other projects. I want you to be safe when the job calls for a ladder. Here are seven ladder safety tips to make sure you finish the job safely.
Use the right sized ladder (and don’t stretch it).
You and I love having the right tools for the job, but sometimes our tools don’t give us the length or reach that we need. We have a tool that might work, but we shouldn’t risk the job, our tools or ourselves. When using a ladder, there should be at least 3 feet of ladder extending above the surface of whatever it is you’re working on. Reaching too much could put you off balance and that could have terrible results. When it comes to heights and your safety, you should always be cautious for the sake of your limbs!
Don’t put too much weight on your ladder.
Some items just aren’t built as strong as you and I are, remember that everything has its limit. Making sure your ladder is load rated for the amount of weight you’re about to put on it can prevent it from collapsing underneath you. Also, be sure that all rung locks are working the way they are supposed to. Whether it’s a shiny new ladder or it’s older and weathered, you should make sure that it’s working exactly the way it’s supposed to before you use it. A few safety checks before using a ladder can prevent a whole lot of problems.
Find a firm footing on a level surface.
Ladders are like legs. They wobble when they are not on a stable, uneven ground. You should never place a ladder on an uneven surface. Even the slightest tilt could cause the ladder to wobble as you climb higher and higher. To further minimize the chances of tipping over, your ladder should have rubber feet. Here are a couple of ladder safety tips for a firm footing if you are working in areas that don’t have flat surfaces: 1. If you’re working on soft ground like dirt you can dig out a bit of ground to make it level. 2. Use the spike ends to secure your ladder into the ground. 3. Another option is to invest in ladder levelers that can adjust to level your ladder on most surfaces - even stairs.
Keep your body weight centered.
Keeping your weight in the center of the ladder will prevent you from falling off and taking everything else down with you. This means not leaning too far back or to either side when you are climbing or working on your ladder. You should always feel that you are balanced and in control. If you find yourself using your arms to pull yourself back into a proper position, you’re leaning too much to one side. Also, make sure that you’re wearing proper footwear when working on a ladder. Something with a nice, sticky grip will prevent you from slipping and throwing you off balance.
Keep the ladder away from doors and power lines.
If possible, it is best to avoid placing your ladder near anything that can move suddenly to shake or dislodge the ladder from its position. You never know when someone will swing a door open and knock you over! Even if you have placed signs or warned your kiddos beforehand, it’s best to try and avoid doors. Power lines are even worse. If for some reason your ladder tips over or something else snaps the power line, you’ve got deadly amounts of electricity flowing through those wires. Wooden ladder or not, don’t go near them.
Stay off that top step!
That sticker isn’t just there to taunt you. It’s a legitimate warning and you don’t want to be the next person to find that out the hard way. Once you start using those top steps, you leave behind all the things keeping you from falling and rely only on balance - and our balance alone isn’t always reliable. If the only way to reach what you’re working on is to use those top steps, just remember the first of the ladder safety tips, which is to use the right sized ladder!
With proper ladder usage, it’s all about proper balance.
If you have balance issues in any way, please get someone else to do the job for you. It’s not worth risking bodily harm if you can’t safely navigate a ladder on your own. It’s always okay to suck up your pride and ask for help when you need it.
Be smart when using a ladder! I hope that you learned a little more about ladder safety and spread the word so that the people you care about stay safe.
When it comes to cleaning your gutters, the EZsmart Gutter Cleaner was created so homeowners can accomplish the normally dangerous chore of cleaning their gutters without ever having to get on a ladder. But that doesn't mean you can just throw that old ladder away. I know that there may still be tasks at home or at work that require you to use a ladder and I want you to be safe!
With these ladder safety tips and a little common sense, you should be able to safely use a ladder for whatever tasks may require it. Thanks for reading, and stay tuned to the EZsmart blog for more of my thoughts and helpful tips for homeowners.