Ready to put up your holiday décor? Pulling out that ladder might be risky business!
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than half a million people are treated for ladder-related injuries every year in the United States and about 300 people die from these injuries. The estimated annual cost of ladder injuries is $24 billion, including work loss, medical, legal, liability, and pain and suffering expenses.
Ladder accidents, however, can be prevented when portable ladders are used appropriately, and users follow common safety recommendations.
Keep your family members safe while using a ladder by following these simple rules:
- Make sure the conditions you are working in are appropriate for ladder use. Do not climb ladders in high winds or storms.
- Wear clean slip-resistant shoes. Shoes with leather soles are not appropriate for ladder use since they are not considered sufficiently slip-resistant.
- Use the right ladder for the job. It is important to choose a ladder that has the proper load capacity for the job. Is it the right type of ladder? Can it support the weight? Is it tall enough to prevent standing on the top rungs?
- Inspect the ladder before you use it. Are all the rungs and feet in good condition? Clean off any foreign substance or material on it that would make the rungs slippery or sticky.
- Set the ladder up correctly. Be sure the footing and the upper contact areas are safe. Don’t place it in front of a closed door that could open toward the ladder. Prop the door open, instead. If you are using a step ladder, make sure it is in a fully open position on a stable and level surface (unless it has been secured to prevent movement.) Do not set it up on top of something to give it additional height. Keep the area around its base uncluttered.
- Climb and descend the ladder with caution. Always face the ladder when ascending or descending. Keep your body near the middle of the step.
- Three points of contact! This means either have two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand on the ladder, at all times, while you are using it.
- Never carry any object while on the ladder that may cause you to lose your balance. Carry your tools and other supplies in a tool belt and don’t reach too far to either one side or the other.
- If you experience health issues, consider whether you should even be on the ladder.
- Be safe and use common sense when using a ladder. If it looks risky, it probably is. Spending your holiday looking at hospital decorations won’t be the same as being home. Don’t take risks. Ask for help or redesign your holiday décor plan.
WHAT NOT TO DO!
A real example shared with TSS!