Spring Ladder Safety

Spring is a busy time for outside projects. One of the tools of the season is a ladder.  The Newtown Square Fire Company urges home mechanics to think safety before any ladder activities.  “Know the weight limit for all ladders, pay special attention to both the ladder’s top and bottom, and never take short cuts during the ladder use ,” urged Chief Doug Everlof.

When cleaning out the home’s gutters or removing the yet-to-be-removed holiday decorations begin by surveying the project.  A firm, safe support for the ladder’s foot and knowing the location of any electric wires or other elevated dangers and understanding project-safety must be completed before beginning a spring, ladder activity.

Chief Everlof stressed, “Always select the correct ladder for the job. Make sure your straight and adjustable ladders have slip-resistant feet. Also, choose a ladder that extends at least three feet over the roofline or working surface.  Check the ladder’s maximum load rating, making sure the ladder can support both your weight and the work load you are putting on it.”

The local firefighters urge comfortable, safe-ladder practices when using ladders through a simple suggestion. Start by positioning straight, single or extension ladders at about a 75–degree angle. A simple way this is determined starts by standing up straight with your toes touching the feet of the ladder as it leans away from you. Extend your arms in front of you. Your palms should touch the top of the rung that’s at shoulder level.

Chief Everlof added, “Metal ladders should never be used near power lines or electrical equipment. Add caution by selecting a wood or fiberglass ladders near any electricity. Also add additional precaution—a ladder should ever touch any wire!”

Before beginning any ladder activities, have a helper, both for a ‘second set of eyes’ and a watch dog.  This person can remind the ladder-worker to never lean too far to one side; this upsets the balance of the ladder.  When advancing up the ladder, climbers are reminded to check the rung locks are “set in place.  Keeping others from joining anyone working on a ladders.  This adds to the weigh as the combined poundage can exceed the weight limit.

Concluding this ladder safety primer, Chief Everlof added, “Keeping a ladder away from any door that can be opened helps eliminate a fall should this door is unexpectedly opened. Simple steps and ongoing safety thinking help in assuring accident and injury reductions. Never leave in place an unattended ladder.”


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