Spring Chores? Steady on the Ladder
Spring is a time to start thinking about sprucing up the house and yard. To wash windows, clean gutters, trim branches and other chores, most people scale a ladder.
Ladders are useful tools, but be mindful of their dangers: each year, more than 511,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms, doctors’ offices, clinics and other medical settings because they failed to use ladders safely, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. While most injuries are cuts, bruises and fractured bones, more than 300 people actually die from injuries related to ladders — almost one death a day.
Follow these safety tips when doing your spring cleaning from a ladder:
- Inspect the ladder — check for loose screws, hinges or rungs that need to be fixed and clean mud and debris that may have accumulated.
- Properly set up the ladder on a firm, level surface. Be aware of ground that may be bumpy or muddy because of freezing and thawing during the winter. Always engage the ladder locks or braces before your climb.
- Don’t use a ladder as a seat between tasks, especially the top or pail shelf on the ladder.
- Select the right ladder for the job, using step stools or utility ladders when working at low or medium heights.
- Move materials with caution when on the ladder. When cleaning out the garage or closet, be careful pushing or pulling anything from shelves while standing on the ladder. You could lose your balance.
- Always reposition the ladder closer to the work. Over-reaching or leaning far to one side could also make you lose your balance.
- Be careful when climbing and get help when you need it. Ask someone to hold the ladder while you climb.
If you fall, calmly assess whether you are hurt and get up slowly. If you feel that you cannot stand or walk, don’t panic but call for assistance. Call 911 for serious injuries. If you are not injured, rest awhile and regain your composure before climbing again.
Learn about the different types of ladders and how to make sure they are stable.
Here are more tips to keep you safe!
This organization offers a ladder safety resource list.
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