The autumn/winter season provides ample opportunities to use a ladder. Whether you’re clearing leaves from gutters, checking insulation, or hanging Christmas lights, you’ll need a longer reach that a ladder provides. The first tip to properly using a step ladder is to determine the correct ladder for the job. Unfortunately most of us only have room for one ladder in the house which is typically a step ladder and at most we have also have an extension ladder and many times these still aren’t suitable for our task so we improvise, BIG MISTAKE.
Here are OSHA and the Home Safety Council’s recommendations for using a ladder safely. It all starts with proper ladder setup which is thoroughly covered by this step-by-step instruction that includes photos. For the ultimate in safe footholds check out the RungGrip which are slip resistant ladder rung covers.
The Basics in Ladder Safety:
1. Ladder Pitch: Ladders should be set up at a 4:1 angle (1 ft. out from the base for every 4 ft. of rise).
2. Wear proper footwear with non-slip soles.
3. Face ladder while ascending and descending.
4. Don’t carry tools in hand, use a window cleaner’s tool belt, or belt designed for the ladder work to be accomplished.
5. Do not stand above highest “safe standing level” prescribed by ladder’s manufacturer, i.e.. (above top three rungs).
6. Do not extend the center of your body’s torso past either side rail of ladder, i.e.. (do not over reach).
7. Keep at least 3 points of contact when working, i.e.. (your feet and 1 hand).
8. When ladders are used to climb onto or off of an upper surface, they must extend at least 3 ft. above the surface.
9. Do not set up ladders in high-traffic areas.
10. Never leave erected ladder unattended.
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