Ladder Safety Tips for a Healthy Holiday

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Ahhh, Thanksgiving Day! There’s nothing like the time with family, the sumptuous food -- and the nap that follows afterward. And, you’ll want to be well-rested for the holiday decorating whirlwind that typically follows the feast. For many, Thanksgiving weekend kicks off the official holiday decorating season. Across the US, people will be treking up and down ladders to hang holiday lights, tack-up mistletoe and retrieve beloved decorations from the attic. Before you begin decking the halls and trimming the tree, make sure you observe essential ladder safety tips to ensure you stay happy and healthy for the holidays.

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Just Like Santa, Have a Helper

Every year, according to the Culture of Safety, more than 90,000 people receive emergency room treatment from ladder-related injuries. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statics estimates that 50 percent of these injuries occur from individuals transporting items as they climb.  Don’t try to schlep an armful of ornaments to the top of the tree. Make sure you have a helper to assist you with the things that you need.

Chairs are for Sitting, Ladders are for Climbing

We know it’s tempting to simply grab a chair to quickly hang something, but a chair is not a safe substitute for a ladder. Save your chairs for the gathering around the family room table.

Watch Your (Ladder) Weight

Make sure to use a ladder rated for a much higher weight than you need. The American Ladder Institute recommends you consider your weight, the weight of your clothing and tools, and any additional weight the ladder must support. Additionally, never load the ladder to the maximum intended load.

Don’t Be Vertically Challenged

Do you know that sign on the top of your ladder that says, “Not a Step”? Well, it’s there for a reason. If you have to climb onto the ladder no-no zone, then your ladder is too short. Make sure your ladder is tall enough for the job. Check-out the American Ladder Institute’s tips on Choosing the Right Ladder for more details.  

Cleanliness Matters

Before each use, inspect your ladder for uneven, wet, or dirty rungs. This will reduce the likelihood of slipping or foot misplacement.

One is the Only Number

It seems to go without saying, but you should NEVER tie or fasten ladders together. If your ladder is too short, consider purchasing a new one or borrowing one from a friend!

Keep Your [Ladder] Feet on the Ground

Keeping the ladder stable at the base is a must. Make sure the ladder is on a firm and even surface. Additionally, keep the area around the top and bottom of the ladder clean and clear.

Move It, Don’t Lose It

You see it in the movies – that guy who tries to “bunny hop” a ladder along the roof-line. And what do you see next? The same guy hanging from the gutter or down on the ground. NEVER try to move a ladder while you’re still on it. If you need to move a ladder, climb down and then move the ladder.  The extra few minutes of work can save your life!

Careful What You Carry

It is inevitable that something will eventually need to be taken up or down the ladder. Make sure the item is not a tripping hazard, such as long strands of lights, and is not too heavy or off-balanced, like a large box. And remember to have a helper, too!

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Observing simple, but important ladder safety tips will help keep you and your family members safe both this season and all year-round.

From all of us at Kaplan Construction, we wish you a very happy Thanksgiving!