Ladder Safety Tips for Spring Cleaning Warriors
Each spring, thousands of homeowners feel inspired to clean their gutters, wash the windows and maybe even organize the clutter in the attic. Yes, it always feels good to get a fresh start after a dreary winter, but before rushing into anything it’s important to make sure your ladder is in proper working order. Falls are a leading cause of home injuries and fatalities, so brush up on these ladder safety tips first.
Minimize your risk with these tips:
- Inspect the ladder for broken steps, locks and missing parts. If everything seems fine, go ahead and set it up.
- Don’t use metal ladders near electrical equipment, power lines or in puddles.
- Make sure the ladder is on a clean and even surface and that it can’t get caught on any indoor rugs or garden hoses if you’re outside. Also, make sure it isn’t in the way of any doors.
- When climbing a ladder and cleaning or taking boxes out of the attic it’s a good idea to use the buddy system. Have someone nearby to keep an eye on you in case you get into trouble or need an extra hand.
- Always keep both feet on the ladder and be careful when ascending or descending.
- Never climb onto the ladder’s top step. Use the other steps and hold on when you can. While it may be difficult to hold on while cleaning the gutters or windows, it could save you from an injury.
According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, most ladder deaths are from falls of 10 feet or less. Also, there are more than 164,000 emergency room visits for ladder injuries each year and 300 deaths.
Common causes of ladder injuries include:
- Failure to set up the ladder properly
- Losing your balance or missing a step
- Reaching too far while on the ladder
- Using the wrong type of ladder for the job at hand. Learn more about choosing the right ladder from the National Safety Council.
- Using old or damaged ladders
- Incorrect setup or placement of the ladder
Common injuries from ladder accidents include broken bones, sprains and strains or cuts and bruises. All of these can be treated at your nearest emergency room or urgent care. More serious injuries can result in trauma with internal bleeding, damaged organs and death.