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Ladder Safety Is No Laughing Matter!!

by Jerry Alonzy, the Natural Handyman

Each year there are more than 164,000 emergency room-treated injuries in the U.S. relating to ladders. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) offers the following safety precautions to help prevent these injuries.
  • Make sure the weight your ladder is supporting does not exceed its maximum load rating (user plus materials). There should only be one person on the ladder at one time.

  • Use a ladder that is the proper length for the job. Proper length is a minimum of 3 feet extending over the roofline or working surface. The three top rungs of a straight, single or extension ladder should not be stood on.

  • Straight, single or extension ladders should be set up at about a 75-degree angle.

  • All metal ladders should have slip-resistant feet.

  • Metal ladders will conduct electricity. Use a wooden or fiberglass ladder in the vicinity of power lines or electrical equipment. Do not let a ladder made from any material contact live electric wires.

  • Be sure all locks on extension ladders are properly engaged.

  • The ground under the ladder should be level and firm. Large flat wooden boards braced under the ladder can level a ladder on uneven ground or soft ground. A good practice is to have a helper hold the bottom of the ladder.

  • Do not place a ladder in front of a door that is not locked, blocked or guarded.

  • Keep your body centered between the rails of the ladder at all times. Do not lean too far to the side while working.

  • Do not use a ladder for any purpose other than that for which it was intended.

  • Do not step on the top step, bucket shelf or attempt to climb or stand on the rear section of a stepladder.

  • Never leave a raised ladder unattended.

  • Follow use instruction labels on ladders.
Falls are no laughing matter. As the old joke goes, the worst part of a fall is the sudden stop at the bottom! Be careful!


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