As we edge closer to summer in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, we start thinking of a list of chores we can do around the house – especially preparing the exterior and yard for summer. And many of these chores require the use of a ladder. Knowing how to use a ladder safely can help prevent injuries – including an unexpected trip to the ER post-fall.
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Ladder Safety Tips
Use a Ladder of the Correct Length
The higher you need to climb, the longer the ladder should be. While you may be tempted to just stretch the last couple of feet, ideally you should be able to stand several rungs below the top to complete your work.
Inspect the Ladder Before Use
Check the ladder for any damage or unusual wear and tear before use. Things like rusted parts, broken or missing rungs, or damaged feet should be properly repaired or the ladder replaced.
Set on the Right Surface
The ladder should sit directly on the ground and as level as possible. You should never set the ladder on top of any other object including a throw rug, a table or chair, a stair tred, or other areas where it won’t be stable.
Transport the Ladder Carefully
Shorter ladders may be easily carried by one person. Longer ladders will need to be carried by two, as well as when you’re needing to navigate tight areas without worrying about the ladder damaging property.
Install the Ladder Correctly
Ladders should be placed so that they are at a 75 degree angle. One foot out for every four feet up should provide the correct angle. Also be sure that you aren’t using a closed step ladder to lean against a wall -they can easily slip since the feet won’t sit flat.
Secure the Ladder at the Top
Make sure the top is on a level surface and can’t slide easily back and forth. You can also attach the top of the ladder to a stable surface, or install a 2×4 with some eye bolts and rope to provide a secure anchor point.
Other Things to Check
Check Your Health
There are a lot of things that you shouldn’t be doing when you’re sick, or may otherwise be impaired, and climbing a ladder is one of them. Even if you think you may be okay, a lot of things can impact your balance or inner ear even when you otherwise don’t you feel too bad, which makes it a bad time to climb.
Use a Tool Belt
You need both hands free to climb. This means that you should ot be trying to climb a ladder while you’re holding hammer and nails, screwdriver, or other hand tools. Strap on a tool belt and allow it to be another set of hands to hold your tools and keeps your own free for maneuvering.
Check Your Shoes
Non-slip soles on your shoes are a must. The rungs of a ladder can be slick, even when they appear to be well textured. Make sure you aren’t wearing slippery shoes, and ideally you will want to wear a pair of work boots that have a heel versus a sole that is completely flat, to provide your foot an extra spot for gripping.
Let Semper Fi Take Something Off Your Chore List
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