Whether it is a construction project or a home renovation, people rely on ladders as a quick and easy tool to extend their reach. From painting up high to cleaning gutters of falling leaves, ladders are ubiquitous in homes, apartments and worksites throughout Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, many individuals, professionals and casual users alike fail to follow crucial safety tips when working on or around a stepladder.
A stepladder, unlike an extension ladder, is a portable, self-supporting object. With support struts in place, when opened it takes on the appearance of a capital A. These objects are so common that workers might fail to see the danger inherent in their use. Here are three tips to remember when using a stepladder:
- Inspect the ladder before use: Whether it is a ladder tied to a construction site or it has been stored in a garage for a decade, these items can become damaged, rusted and fatigued. Inspecting the ladder before use is a crucial safety tip. Users are encouraged to inspect the metal braces, welds and treads for wear and tear and damage.
- Maintain three points of contact at all times: Whether it is both hands and one foot, or one hand and both feet, remaining stable on a stepladder is critical. Too many users fall into the trap of stretching for extra distance, holding an arm at full extension and lifting a leg for extra balance. Unfortunately, this negatively impacts overall stability.
- Only use a stable patch of ground: Whether inside a structure or outside in the environment, it is imperative that the user places the ladder on a stable surface. It is not uncommon for an individual to put legs of the stepladder on uneven or shifting surfaces to reach the areas necessary for work. Unfortunately, this can lead to the ladder toppling and taking the worker with it.
No matter the scope of the project, ladder safety is crucial. Even if it might seem like it’s adding time to the project, following correct procedures is necessary to avoid catastrophic injuries. Falls from any height can lead to broken bones, head trauma, spinal cord damage or worse. Workers might suffer amputation, paralysis and open head wounds. It is wise to follow safety protocols from start to finish.