We hear stories all the time from our customers who tell us that before they made the decision to have us install one of our systems at their house, they dreaded the experience of climbing a ladder several times a year to clean out their gutters. Granted, using a ladder isn’t inherently dangerous, but it sure can be dangerous if a person is not careful and mindful of ladder safety.
So if you are reading this post, and have considered the benefits of gutter protection for your home, but aren’t ready to take that next step for any number of reasons, I wanted to offer some ladder safety tips and techniques that some of us here at LeafFilter have found to be helpful. And please — drop us a line if or when you are ever ready to trade in your time on a ladder for more enjoyable and relaxing things to do. We would be happy to help you!
With that said…summer turning into autumn is one of the most pronounced seasonal changes we have in the Northeast and Midwest. The weather cools down, the kids are going back to school, and most importantly your “to do” list around the house has probably tripled in size. Some of the things you’ll need to take care of in the coming months likely include:
- Trimming branches and raking leaves
- Inspecting exterior walls and doors for cracks
- Installing storm windows for energy efficiency
- Washing windows and power-washing siding
- Cleaning gutters, downspouts, and splash guards
And some of these chores will definitely require you going down to the basement or out to the shed to find the long forgotten ladder. Please keep this sobering statistic in mind regarding ladder safety…every year, over 100,000 people are injured from accidents involving a ladder. Recent OSHA research found that almost 100 percent of all ladder accidents could be avoided with the proper attention to the details of how your equipment works and being mindful of ladder safety tips.
Ensure Ladder Safety by Checking For:
- Missing Rungs and Steps
Double-check Your Ladder to Ensure:
- All feet are working properly – a solid base is vital to a solid ladder
- Rung locks and spreader braces are working properly
- All bolts and rivets are secure
- All steps, rungs, and other ladder parts are free of oil, grease, and any other liquid or debris that will make climbing your ladder more difficult than it already is
And please do not use your ladder if any of the following are found as a result of your inspection.
Ladder Safety Tips for Proper Setup and Use:
- Choose a safe location to setup your ladder while avoiding doors and uneven/slippery flooring
- Avoid windy conditions
- Uneven or slippery flooring because this could cause the ladder to shift while you are standing on it – not a good situation
- Stay at least 10 feet away from any and all power lines
- Use a spotter when possible. If not, secure the ladder on each end to ensure it doesn’t fall or lean away from the structure
- Never carry bulky materials or heavy loads up or down a ladder. All materials should be raised to the work station on a tether
- Always face the ladder
- Keep your body weight centered in between the two side rails
- Maintain three points of contact with the ladder at all times
- Only one person on the ladder at a time
- Avoid sudden movements
- Never stand on the top rung
- Never sit on any rung
I hope that most of these ladder safety tips seemed like common sense and they are probably steps you take each time before you climb a ladder. But even the most experienced at doing something can forget the basics from time -to-time.