13 Safety Tips For Using Ladders

iStock_000009731848_Small

Did you know that thousands of people are hurt each year as a result of improper use of ladders? You might think you’re doing something that is quick and easy, but remember when you climb up on a ladder, even a step ladder, you risk injuring yourself. And with all the YouTube videos of quick how-to’s and DIYs, it’s easy to forget just how badly you can hurt yourself, leaving your family in a lurch.

When it comes to cleaning your gutters, you obviously need a ladder, so if you decide not to hire professionals, but opt for doing it yourself, read through our quick tips on how to stay safe. Remember that your ladder is a tool, just like your hammer or your electric saw. So be careful when using it.

  1. Be sure to use a ladder that extends higher then you need it to, and that can hold enough weight to support you and whatever tools you need.
  2. Make sure you place your ladder firmly on solid ground, ensure the floor isn’t soft or slippery and don’t put anything underneath the ladder or don’t put your ladder on top of something to help make it bigger/taller.
  3. If your ladder is older, make sure there aren’t any cracks or loose parts that could result in a serious accident. And if there is a problem, don’t solve it with duct tape or other DIYs, it’s time for a new ladder.
  4. Always ensure the ladder is in front of you and have three points of contact on the ladder at all times when going up, down or while working. This means two feet and one hand or two hands and one foot should be touching the ladder at any point in time while using it.
  5. If it’s not within arm’s reach, don’t try to move the ladder while you’re on it. It’s safer to get down from the ladder and move it closer to the object instead of risking it while you’re on the ladder. It’s just not worth it.
  6. If you’re not feeling well, if you’re tired, or if you’re dizzy, it’s probably not the best time to climb a ladder. You really don’t want to lose your balance and fall off just because you weren’t feeling 100%.
  7. When in doubt, read the safety instructions to ensure you can use the ladder for what you are trying to use the ladder. Sounds silly, but you’d be surprised!
  8. Avoid placing the ladder in front of doors that might open towards the ladder. If you need to set up there, make sure you put a sign on the other side of the door, or lock the door so no one pushes the ladder when walking in.
  9. If working outside, don’t use a ladder when there is a wind, rain or snow storm as well as when there is lightening.
  10. Ladders are typically designed to hold only one person at a time. If it’s a two-person job, there are specific ladders you can rent or purchase to use. Visit your local hardware store for more information on those.
  11. Wear shoes that are slip-resistant so you don’t miss a rung while going up or down the ladder. Leather soles aren’t good enough.
  12. If you can, use the buddy system. Have a friend hold the ladder for you while you’re doing the work, or vice versa. This way, if you lose your balance, or something happens, you can help each other right away.
  13. Most importantly, be careful and stay safe.  

For more information on ladder safety, visit WorkSafe BC’s website