It’s time to make repairs around the home so you get out the ladder and slap it against the roof’s edge. But when you start to climb it slips to one side. You were lucky this time. It fell while you were still close to the ground. Accidents happen when safety and forethought are not used with activities involving your ladder. You have to think ahead before you take that first step either to possible repairs of your home or possible injury to yourself.
Always check the ground you are going to place the ladder on. Uneven ground or soft dirt can cause a ladder to fall sideways or backwards. For soft ground place a board under both feet of the ladder. Make sure you ladder is slip resistant and at a proper angle. Do not try to climb a ladder that is standing straight up. Your weight will shift the balance of the ladder and you can fall backwards. You can also increase stability by driving a stake into the ground on each side and tying the ladder to them.
Do not lean a ladder against tree limbs that will easily break or bend once your weight is on it. Place the ladder against the trunk of the tree or against strong, thick limbs closest to the trunk. If you are trying to pick fruit then choose a free standing folding ladder. Never stand on the top step. It is too hard to maintain balance. When you take the first step on the ladder test for stability. Shake the ladder from side to side and if you don’t feel secure then re-adjust to firmer ground.
If you plan to use an extension ladder do not climb to the top step. For safety the ladder must overlap from three to four feet and lock securely in place. So if you are using a 20 foot extension ladder you have a working length of 17 feet. Always check for lock security before climbing the ladder.
If you are standing on a ladder to make electrical repairs you must consider the facts in grounding. You can get shocked on a ladder if improperly used. Never use an aluminum ladder or a wet wooden ladder for repairs of an electrical nature. Do not set your ladder in water or wear wet shoes or clothing. Wear dry clothing and rubber soled shoes during repairs. Use a fiberglass ladder for the best results and safety.
Now you are ready, but one more thing to consider is the weather. If it is raining you can slip on wet rungs so wear the proper shoes. If you are using a ladder during a snow storm be careful of icy conditions. Never use the ladder during a thunder storm. Once you are high enough you become a perfect target for the next lightening strike. Dry weather and fair conditions are the best time for repair work. If you must use the ladder in an emergency during bad weather take more precautions than normal. Be aware, be safe.