Prevent one of the most common holiday season injuries

by admin November 23, 2010

Ladder safety tips 

Traditionally, after Thanksgiving Day, many people begin to dust off their wreaths and garland and untangle their lights. Although creating a festive atmosphere can bring a lot of joy, it has potential to be very dangerous, specifically, when climbing ladders to hang lights.


Each year, more than 164,000 people in the U.S. have emergency room-treated injuries relating to ladders, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Many of these injuries and deaths could be prevented by understanding and abiding by these safety guidelines for properly using ladders.


Before using a ladder, perform these simple steps:


·         First, choose a location that is away from power lines, electrical wires, tree limbs or any other obstacles. Place the ladder on firm, level and solid ground.


·         Second, inspect the ladder, and if damaged, do not continue using it. Be sure that all locks and extensions are able to be properly employed.


·         Third, when moving a single or extension ladder, make sure that it is carried parallel to the ground. To balance the load, hold the side rail in the middle of the ladder. If the ladder is extremely long, ask for help.


·         Fourth, make sure the ladder is the proper length for your home. The ladder should extend a minimum of three feet over the roofline.


·         Lastly, abide by the 4-to-1 rule: for every four feet between the bottom of the ladder and the upper point of contact, the bottom of the ladder should be extended one foot out from the wall.


After preparing properly, there are additional safety tips while using the ladder. To prevent injuries, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons suggests the following:


·         Face the ladder while climbing and stay in the center of the rails. Grip both rails securely while climbing.


·         Do not lean over the side of the ladder. Your belt buckle should not be further than the side rail.


·         On single or extension ladders, never stand above the third rung from the top and never climb above the point where the ladder touches the wall or vertical support.


·         Never stand on the top rung of any ladder.


·         Do not overreach. It is safer to move the ladder to a new location when needed.


·         Do not try to "jog" or "walk" the ladder to a new location while standing on it. Climb down and reposition the ladder.


·         Do not overload a ladder. It is meant to be used by only one person at a time.


·         Never use a ladder in high winds.


·         Do not use any ladder if you tire easily, are subject to fainting spells or are using medications or alcohol that make you dizzy or drowsy.


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