Do It Yourself: Important Tips For Working With Ladders

A ladder can come in handy around your house. Advice on how to use them safely.

Every year, many people get injured when they are working with ladders around their homes. Unfortunately, some ladder accidents even end up being fatalities. But, you can help yourself and your family avoid many common ladder accidents by following these important tips:

Tip 1

Even ladders that are in good shape can cause accidents, but using an old, unsteady ladder is just asking for trouble. Before you use any ladder, be sure to inspect it first. A useable ladder should have all of its rungs securely in place. It should have no pieces missing, and it should stand stable when its legs are extended out on a level surface. Its side rails should be free from cracks or other weaknesses. Its hardware should be securely in place, and all hinges and joints should move without hindrance.

Tip 2

On the side of every ladder, there is a sticker tells you the type of ladder it is and it also gives its rating. That is, the sticker tells how much weight the ladder can safely handle. Therefore, before you step foot on a ladder, be sure that you check the side to see if it can handle your weight plus any weight you might be carrying in addition. Most household ladders hold a maximum of two hundred pounds.

Tip 3

There is a proper way to set up a ladder for working around your house. To do this, place the ladder on a dry, solid, level surface. Follow the "One out, four up" rule for the safest ladder angle. To do this, you should position the bottom of the ladder so it is one - fourth of the ladder's height away from the wall. Make sure the legs are extended out as far as they will go. Make sure too that the hinges are locked safely into place. And, if the ladder is set up so you can crawl up on a roof, you should have at least three of the top rungs above the edge of the roof.

Tip 4

After you set up a ladder for use, you should secure the bottom part of the ladder, as well as the top, with heavy ropes or straps. You should tie the sides of the ladder to a solid, stationary surface so it can't fall down. If there is no suitable place to secure the ladder to, then you should enlist the help of a "spotter". A "spotter" is a person who stands on the ground at the base of the ladder. After you have started climbing up, he or she places one foot on the bottom rung of the ladder. And, their hands are placed on the sides of the ladder to help steady it for you.

Tip 5

When climbing either up or down a ladder, be sure that you keep both hands on the side rails. Wear shoes that have non - slip soles. This will help to steady your step as you climb up or descend the ladder. If you need to carry tools or materials, use a tool belt, belt hooks, or a backpack. Don't try to carry lumber, heavy buckets, or other similar items up a ladder. Use a rope and pulley system instead.

Tip 6

For your safety, as well as for the safety of others, try to never position a ladder in front of a doorway. If you absolutely must, then open and block the door open or close and lock the door so that no one can use the entrance.

Tip 7

Never try to tie or otherwise hook together two or more ladders to make a longer one. You should never use a ladder horizontally either. Never place a ladder across saw horses, bricks, et cetera in order to use it. Ladders are meant to be used in a vertical position.

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