Prevent injuries with ladder safety

The moderate temperatures of spring and summer make these great times of the year to tackle jobs around the house. When cleaning or remodeling goals involve reaching heights, ladders are often put to use.

The American Ladder Institute reminds do-it-yourselfers and professionals that ladders are tools, and it is the responsibility of people to follow safety precautions when using ladders just as they would any other tool.

Choose the right size
The right ladder makes a job safer, as it prevents the user from having to stand on the top rung or step, which can throw off DIYers’ balance. Ladders come in various sizes and types, from step to straight to combination. Do not exceed the maximum load rating of a ladder. When calculating, include the weight of the person or persons who will use the ladder and any tools and equipment he or she may carry on the ladder during a job.

Keep it steady
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration advises against shifting or moving a ladder while a person or equipment is on the ladder. Use the ladder only on a stable and level surface, unless it has been secured to prevent displacement. The proper angle for setting up a ladder can help keep it steady. The base of the ladder should be at one-quarter of the working length of the ladder from the wall or other vertical surface, says OSHA.

Climb carefully
Never use a ladder if you are feeling dizzy, tired or impaired, as such feelings can cause accidents. Be sure to place a ladder where the climb will not be impeded by electrical wires, obstacles or even wind and other weather conditions. The National Safety Council recommends wearing slip-resistant shoes with clean soles for maximum traction. Always grip the rungs and climb the ladder while facing it, all the while maintaining three points of contact with the ladder (two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand). Hang tools from a tool belt while climbing or have them handed up to you after you’ve safely reached your height.

Be smart
Do not overreach while on a ladder. Go slowly when ascending or descending, being deliberate where hands and feet are placed. Avoid distractions while working on ladders to further reduce the risk of balanced-related accidents.

Ladders are an important tool around the house. Safety is key when climbing to new heights.

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