The holiday season has returned, and that means many of us will resort to using ladders or step stools to hang holiday decorations and outdoor lights. However, falling from a ladder is not how we want the season to kick off! In 2010, over 13,000 people were treated in emergency rooms from injuries related to holiday decorations (ON 2011). Whether you’re hanging holiday lights, cleaning out the gutter, or washing your windows, ladder safety is important.
Use the following tips to guide your safe ladder use (WBMIC 2015):
- Ensure the weather is appropriate for the task. Don’t hang decorations during a storm!
- Ensure the ladder you choose reaches far enough to complete the task. Avoid stretching or reaching while on the ladder.
- Ensure the ladder has slip-resistant feet and have a helper hold the ladder to provide additional stability.
- Don’t use a metal ladder near power lines or electrical equipment!
- Inspect the ladder before using it. Check that ladder rungs are free of rust, debris, and stress cracks or dents.
- Always place the ladder on level ground.
- Make sure the ladder will support your weight. Follow maximum load ratings.
- Avoid placing a ladder in front of doors that could open unexpectedly.
- Plan your movement before setting up the ladder. Think about the angle and distance from your task.
- Don’t stand or climb on the rear section of a ladder or on the top two rungs. Follow all instruction labels.
- Maintain three points of contact with the ladder at all times.