Come spring and everyone gets ready for various home-sprucing activities. A ladder plays an important part in all our activities, be it washing window panes, hanging decorations, or painting the garage. It can also be the source of various injuries. Falling off a ladder is the major cause of home injuries. But you can easily avoid mishaps by taking some precautions.
Choose a Proper Ladder
Your choice will depend upon the purpose. There are three types to choose from: heavy, industrial purpose ladder; commercial, medium duty ladder; and the small, domestic purpose ladders. These can also be classified depending upon their material, such as fiberglass, aluminum, or wood. Fiberglass ladders are more durable and sturdy, but are also expensive. Choose one that you find most suitable for your task. Whichever you choose, always check for the UL seal from the Underwriter's Laboratory.
Always inspect the ladder carefully before using it. Watch out for splinters, cracks, and decay in case of wooden ones. Also, do not paint the wood, because paint makes it impossible to detect cracks or decay. Inspect for broken latches, joints, and locks of step ladders and extension ladders. With the aluminum kind, check for rust spots, loose welds, burrs, etc. Apply a coat of lacquer, if the sealant of a fiberglass ladder looks damaged. Inspect it even more carefully if it has not been in use for quite some time.
While positioning the ladder, apply the 1:4 rule. For every 4ft increase in height, increase the distance of the base of the ladder from the wall by 1ft. Also, make sure it is placed on a firm, leveled ground.
Wear slip-resistant shoes with rubber soles while climbing a ladder. Position yourself in the middle of the rung. Climb cautiously if you have to take things along. As far as possible, ask someone to hand them to you, so that you don't have to carry them all. Avoid putting one foot on the rung and the other foot on some other surface. If the ladder is tall, secure it by fastening, and do not climb up to the last rung. While using extension ladders, avoid climbing the last four rungs. Do not lean, instead, reposition it to reach whatever you want. Avoid sitting on the step ladder. After you are done, place the ladder somewhere safe.
Avoid placing the ladder anywhere near the power lines. Always use a wood or fiberglass ladder while dealing with electricity. Keep it out of the reach of children. Also, never leave it unattended, even for a short while.
In Case of Injury
In case of an accident, do not panic. Stay calm. Assess the gravity of the situation. If there is no injury, slowly get up and climb with more caution. In case of minor injury, call for help.
Remember to educate your family and friends about the safe use of a ladder, so that number of ladder-related injuries can be reduced.