Where would today's
do-it-yourselfers be without our trusty ladders? If we humans were only
eight to ten-feet tall, we could get along nicely without them for most
jobs (although we'd have a heckuva time finding chairs and beds to fit
our bodies). But we're not, so ladders are often a necessity. They're
indispensable when scraping, painting, cleaning gutters, installing ceiling
fans or lighting fixtures, working on the roof and a host of similar around-the-home
- Most of us remember
what we first learned about ladder safety:
- Always open a
folding ladder completely before climbing onto it.
- Be sure all locks
on extension ladders are fully engaged.
- Always face the
ladder when climbing up or down.
- Don't use electric
tools on wet or metal ladders.
- Keep ladder rungs
and steps free of dirt, grease and oil.
- Always try to
have a helper available to hold the ladder when you're climbing.
Here are some additional
safety tips we may not be so familiar with:
- Always extend
an extension ladder another three feet beyond the work edge and secure
it with a rope, if possible, to keep it from slipping.
- Always keep your
body centered when working on a ladder to avoid tipping it from side-to-side.
- Use a ladder hook
when working on a steep roof. This hook attaches to the ladder's rungs
and hooks over the roof's peak.
- Keep one hand
on the ladder at all times whenever possible to help maintain your balance
- Place an extension
ladder one-fourth as many feet out as it is extended up. For example,
if your ladder is extended up 20 feet, be sure the bottom is out a minimum
of 5 feet from the structure.
- Be sure the feet
of a ladder are on firm, level ground prior to climbing. NEVER set the
feet in mud, sand or soft ground. When using an extension ladder, be
sure BOTH ladder feet are firmly planted.
- Use a rope or
line to haul materials or tools up to your workplace rather than attempting
to carry these items up the ladder with you while climbing.
- When using an
extension ladder, face the upper sections of the ladder outside and
overlap the mating sections by a minimum of 3 feet for maximum rigidity.
- Never stand above
the fourth rung from the top of an extension ladder or the second step
from the top of a stepladder.
- Using a closed
stepladder as an extension ladder can cause it to slip out from under
- Always be sure
you're mentally and physically up to climbing a ladder before doing
so. If you're afraid of heights, taking drugs or drinking alcoholic
beverages, don't climb ladders.
- Never climb on
the back side of a stepladder.
- Be careful not
to lean to one side of a ladder while working or over-reach, as this
could cause you to lose your balance and fall.
- NEVER try to re-position
a ladder while you're on it by hopping or other techniques,
as this could tip the ladder and cause personal injury. ALWAYS get off
the ladder before moving it.
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