Ladder Safety Tips

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Ladder Safety Tips
Ladder Safety Tips 

Cleaning the eaves. Painting. Adjusting the satellite dish. Fixing a leak in the skylight. Replacing a shingle. Retrieving a ball or a kite. Cleaning windows. Removing a squirrel’s nest. All of these minor tasks may involve climbing a ladder, something most people do occasionally. However, every year Canadian emergency room doctors see patients who have fallen from ladders, and many of these accidents have devastating effects.


Worldwide, falls are a major public health problem. More than 400,000 deadly falls occur each year, making it the second most common cause of accidental death. Another three million-plus falls cause injuries severe enough to require medical treatment. Personal injury lawyers see many cases of disability caused by this type of fall.


In Case of a Fall 

If someone falls from a ladder, call 911 immediately, and remember not to move the victim (unless he or she is in a particularly dangerous position.) Head injuries and spinal injuries are common effects of a fall, and movement can exacerbate these types of injuries. Watch to be sure the victim is breathing, and work to stop any bleeding. Most times accident victims will be in shock, so you can try to keep them warm and as calm and comfortable as possible until medical help arrives.



Preventing Falls 

Knowing more about ladder safety could save your family a trip to the emergency room, or worse. First, if you are a senior, please don’t climb a ladder. Seniors are more likely than other groups to fall, and also more likely to suffer more serious injuries after a fall. Don’t climb a ladder if you have any sort of condition that might cause you to lose your balance. Low blood pressure (hypotension,) high blood pressure (hypertension,) vertigo, diabetes, and pregnancy can all cause falls.


Here are some safety tips to remember:

  • Make sure your ladder is in good shape. It should be CSA approved, and should have non-slip safety feet. Check it for any defects. Never use a ladder that is rusty, or that has broken rungs.
  • Choose the right kind of ladder for the job.
  • Make sure the ladder will support both your weight plus the weight of any tools you may be carrying.
  • Don’t climb a ladder during bad weather conditions. Snow, rain, or wind can all be hazardous. Don’t ever climb a ladder that’s damp or wet.
  • Place your ladder safely. Be sure to choose a location that is well away from all power lines. Don’t ever place a ladder in front of an unlocked door. Place the ladder on level ground. If the ground is soft, you may want to place the ladder on top of a wide board. Don’t put the foot of the ladder on stones, or on ice or other slippery surfaces.
  • Don’t place the foot of an extension ladder too close or too far away from the wall. The ladder should be about one foot away from the wall for every four feet of ladder height. If the ladder you've chosen can't maintain this ratio and reach your desired destination, you need a longer ladder.
  • Be sure your step ladder is fully opened and locked into place. An extension ladder should have at least three rungs overlapping.
  • Wear shoes with a good grip on the sole. Don’t climb a ladder if you have dirt or grease on your hands or shoes.
  • Don’t try to carry tools up the ladder. Wear a tool belt, or pull the things you need up with a rope pulley after you’ve climbed the ladder.
  • Never climb a ladder on your own without telling someone first. If possible, have someone with you to hold the bottom of the ladder steady. A second person can also keep others from bumping into the ladder. However, never have more than one person on a ladder at a time.
  • Face the ladder when you climb it.
  • Don’t go right to the top of a ladder. On a step ladder, don’t go higher than the second rung from the top. On an extension ladder, stay below the fourth highest rung, and make sure the top three rungs extend above the place you are working.
  • Keep two hands and a foot or one hand and two feet in contact with the ladder at all times.
  • Move the ladder frequently so as to avoid overreaching. If you lean too far, you can overbalance. Remember the "Belt Buckle Rule," and keep your belt buckle between the rails of the ladder at all times.
  • Be careful not to drop anything onto people below.
  • Once you’re finished, be sure to put the ladder away properly. Never leave a ladder unattended.
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If you or someone in your family has had a bad fall from a ladder, contact a personal injury lawyer. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may be eligible for compensation. Disability lawyers can advise you on whether or not you qualify for certain benefits. Use ladders carefully and cautiously, and stay safe!

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