How to Use a Ladder Safely

Sometimes we need a little boost, like when changing an overhead light bulb, painting, or clearing the gutters. For each, you need a ladder.  Along with numerous other tasks. And yet according to the World Health Organization, there are more than 164,000 emergency-room treated injuries caused by falls from ladders each year in the US alone.

Stay safe while accomplishing your home projects by following these important safety tips.

Ladder Safely

Choose the right type of ladder for the job. Consider the task, environment, and any materials you might be carrying when choosing a ladder. For example, never use an aluminum ladder when working near electrical lines.

Consider height. Not every ladder will give you the boost you need. Step stools and A-frame ladders are generally good for tasks that need up to an eight foot lift, while extension ladders are best for projects requiring 13 feet or more.

Set it safely and securely. Place the ladder on a solid, level, and non-slippery surface that enables the ladder feet to connect squarely with the floor or ground. Otherwise, the ladder could slide out from under you as you shift your weight on the rungs.

Always engage the locking mechanism. No matter how small or quick the project, failing to push spreaders flat and lock the ladder could cause the ladder to close on itself and put your safety at risk.

Get the right angle. When using an extension ladder, place it one foot away from the wall or supporting structure for every four feet of ladder height. This helps ensure the ladder won’t tilt backwards as you ascend.

Maintain three points of contact. Whether climbing up, down, or standing in place, make sure you always have three points of contact on the ladder. For example, two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand.

Don’t overreach. Don’t be tempted to lean your body or stretch your arm to reach something just outside your work area. This can cause the ladder to tip and send you falling. While it will add a few seconds to the job, always reposition the ladder to reach your target work area with safety and ease.

Never stand on the top cap. Each ladder should have a rung labeled as the highest safety point to stand on. Going any farther or stepping on the uppermost part of the ladder makes it unstable and likely to send you tumbling. If you can’t safely reach your work area, you need a taller ladder.

Despite all precautions, accidents still happen. And if one should happen to you, come to MedCare Express for prompt and thorough treatment. We even have our own X-Ray lab to help expedite our diagnosis. And remember: we are the only Hartford area walk-in center open seven days a week to 8 am to 8 pm.