9 Safety Tips to Remember When Using a Ladder

Ladders are a commonly used tool in many homes and workplaces. And the one thing more important than the effectiveness of a ladder is the ability to use the ladder without injuring yourself. Carelessness or playfulness when using a ladder can result in serious injury. Remembering the following safety tips will keep you safe each time you use a ladder. 

1- Read Safety Label

Ladders share two things in common with most other tools: The first is all the information needed for safe use of a ladder is contained on the safety label. The second is most users of ladders will be in too much of a hurry to pay attention to the label. Take the time to read the label before using a ladder. A few minutes of reading can save you from potential harm.

2-Place Ladder on Solid Foundation

A project using a ladder should only begin once a firm and even surface is located for the ladder. The surface should also be clear of other obstacles like mud or water that could possibly pose a safety hazard. When there is any doubt regarding a surface, do not place a ladder in that location.

3- Use Ladders for Their Intended Use

All too often ladder users seek to exercise their creativity by using ladders for activities other than the ladder’s intended use. Ladders were not meant to be used as scaffolding or a bridge. The shelves of a ladder should also not be used as a step. Do not attempt to cut corners and use a ladder for these activities. Many accidents happen each year as a result of ladders being used for things other than what is intended.

4- Keep an Eye on The Weather

You should never try to use a ladder outside during a storm or inclement weather. It may be tempting to convince yourself the stiff breeze you feel will not affect your safety while on a ladder. However, ladders are not as resistant to the wind as you may think. It is not worth the risk. You should wait for clear and wind-free days before planning a task that requires a ladder.

5- Stay Away from Top Level

There is usually a label placed atop of ladders warning users to not step on the top level of the ladder. This warning is there for a reason. Ladder tops are not meant for you to stand on and you should not risk it. Failing to heed this warning can result in a great deal of regret later.

6- Do Not Lean Too Far

A common cause of falls from ladders is a loss of balance. Ladder users often get tired with having to constantly move a ladder two or three feet as they work. To compensate, ladder users often begin to lean too far in the direction they are working. A good guide to use is to make sure your belt buckle is positioned within the rungs and never move further than this to your left or right.

7- Be Mindful of Fatigue

When you begin to get a little tired or are having trouble staying focused, you should not use a ladder. You should also be physically able to properly use a ladder. If you are suffering from an injury to your lower body or having trouble with movement for any reason, you should wait until you are healthier to climb a ladder.

8- Do not Overload Yourself

When using a ladder to carry material or equipment to a higher location, it is important not to carry more than you can handle safely. Bundles should also be balanced so they do not cause you to lose balance while ascending the ladder. 

9- Move Cautiously

Regardless of how sturdy your ladder is, it was not built for sudden motion. It is also important not to shift too much of your weight to either side of the ladder. Lastly, take one step at a time when moving up or down on a ladder and never try to run. 

Ladders are useful tools that everyone will need to use from time to time. It is important to think safety first when you are tasked with a project that requires a ladder to complete. The nine safety tips above will allow you to complete your work and remain safe while working with a ladder.

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About the author: Wifred Murray

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