Most homeowners and do-it-yourselfers have and use a ladder with some frequency and all year round. There always seems to be something around the house that needs your attention and a ladder to reach it. House repairs, yard maintenance, cleaning the gutter, a new coat of paint or change that bulb, somebody is going to reach for the ladder. Ladders are really useful but can be very dangerous. Most ladders are covered with so many warnings and disclaimers that you can barely see the ladder itself. With good reason as more than half a million people are treated annually for injuries related to ladder use.
Since a parachute or sky hook seem out of the question, some basic safety precautions could make a big difference in surviving your chores. Inspect your ladder for loose screws, cracked steps, or old malfunctioning hinges. Inspection and cleaning off mud or chemicals after each use should be a regular routine. Storing the ladder in a safe place out of the weather will help prolong the life and performance of the ladder as well.
Many injuries occur due to improper set up and use of the ladder. Always place the ladder as close as possible to the work and on even firm ground or flooring. Be mindful to avoid soft or uneven ground and flooring. Once you're up the ladder the added weight can cause severe tilt and instability. Check the footing and be sure the hinges are fully extended and locked before you start up the ladder. Stepping up one or two steps and checking for stability before proceeding could save you from skydiving! Do not use a ladder as a seat or extend beyond the typical warning areas. There are different ladders for specialized jobs. When you are on the ladder or moving the ladder itself, go slowly and cautiously. Prime time for accidents are moving material or tools when atop the ladder or moving the ladder itself. Be aware of your surroundings and co-workers before making the move.
Never over reach when on the ladder no matter how inconvenient it may seem to get down and reposition the ladder closer to the work. Getting help to steady the ladder while climbing or working may be necessary. Don't be shy or hurried about asking for help. A few thoughtful steps when using the ladder will keep your feet safely and firmly planted on the ground.
Autor: Bruce Kaler M.D. Bruce Kaler M.D.
Dr Bruce Kaler has more than thirty years experience in general medicine including family practice, occupational medicine and emergency medcine in rural and urban settings. ... ...
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Added: May 21, 2009