Ladder safety

Ladders are very useful tools. By their nature, they are not very dangerous, but when used improperly they can cause death or major injury. In fact, ladders cause an estimated 300 deaths and 130,000 injuries requiring emergency medical attention every year.

Some of the most common hazards involving ladders are instability, electrical shocks, and falling. With a bit of thought and some knowledge, these accidents can be predicted and prevented.

Choose the Right Ladder
It is important that you always use a ladder that is appropriate in size and construction for the task at hand. For example, if you are going to be handling anything with an electric current, you should never use a metal ladder.

You also need to be sure that your ladder can tolerate your weight. Pay attention to the different classes and choose the ladder that suits your needs.

Type I Industrial -- this ladder is heavy-duty and can support up to 250 pounds.
Type II Commercial -- this is a medium-duty ladder that will support up to 225 pounds.
Type III Household -- this ladder is for light household task and can support up to 200 pounds.

Ladder Safety
Ladder safety is mostly common sense, but people still make foolish mistakes and pay the price. Refresh your memory with these ladder safety tips:

* Most ladders are meant to support one person
* Do not try to reach so far that you lose your balance; instead, simply move the ladder
* Place the ladder on a non-skid surface or add rubber treads to the bottom to prevent
slippage
* Never stand on the ladder's top three rungs
* Never use a broken ladder
* Don't put a ladder's base too close to the thing it is leaned against; the base should be spaced
1 foot away for every 4 feet it reaches up
* When using extension ladders, make sure that all locks are firmly secured
* When dealing with electrical equipment, never use a metal ladder
* Never use a wet ladder, as you may slip while climbing

Ladder Maintenance
Most likely you don't use your ladder every day, or even every month. For this reason, it is important that you inspect the ladder for flaws before you climb up.

Be sure to check that all rungs are secure. Look for loose nails, screws, hinges or bolts. If you are using a wooden ladder, be sure that no part is warped or splintered. Lastly, check to be sure that the feet are even and that the ladder does not wobble.

-- Bailey Stoler

External Links:
Ladder Safety Training
Electric Safety Training

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