As Thanksgiving approaches, holiday decorations will begin lighting our neighborhoods. With the darker days here, I enjoy the extra light.
No matter what the job may be, ladder safety is important. Every year, thousands of people are injured, and hundreds are killed while using a ladder. Every time I go on my ladder, I remember falling off my parents’ ladder as a young boy and breaking my collarbone.
If you’re getting ready to hang your outdoor decorations or putting up a tall Christmas tree, here are some safety tips to ensure your holiday season is spent safely with family and friends.
Six Ladder Safety Tips
1. Check your local weather report. While Black Friday may be the day you choose to put up your decorations, paying attention to your local weather forecast is crucial. Standing on a ladder in high winds could cause you to lose your balance. In addition, drizzle can cause your ladder to become slippery. Make sure you pick a dry day with calm winds.
2. Properly look over your ladder. Before using your ladder, make sure it’s in good working order. My ladder isn’t very old, doesn’t get much use, and is stored in my garage, so I know it’s in good shape. If you keep your ladder in a shed or outside, double-check it.
3. Select the appropriate ladder size for the job. Different jobs require different-sized ladders. If the only way you can get to your gutter to remove leaves or to hang lights is to step on the top step of the ladder, you need to buy a longer one. Standing on the top is very dangerous and can cause the ladder to become very unstable. One wrong move, and you could be in a world of hurt. If you plan on going on your roof, make sure the ladder extends three feet above the roof elevation.
4. Don’t stretch. While stretching is good for you before using the ladder, stretching or reaching while on a ladder can lead to injury. Over-stretching on a ladder could cause it to kick out from under you and leave you hanging on the gutter.
5. Be cautious by doors. If you’re working by a door that can open toward the ladder, let your family know you’re working there. The last thing you want is for a family member to open the door to grab the newspaper so they can check the holiday ads. A good idea is to tape a note on the door reminding your family you’re working.
6. Make calculated movements. Before you make your next move, please think about what you want to do and move slowly. Sudden jerks can cause you to lose balance.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a holiday classic. Here's a scene you don’t want to imitate while hanging your decorations: they only work in Hollywood.
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