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Even the thought of climbing a ladder (unless it's the corporate ladder, of course) can be scary for some people. The potential for falls and serious injury is enough for many homeowners to leave the gutter cleaning and holiday decorating to the pros.
But if you're a do-it-yourselfer, or you have to reach a high cabinet or replace a bulb in a ceiling fixture, you're probably going to use a ladder. Just be sure to follow these ladder safety precautions. They apply whether climbing ladders at work or at home.
Using the wrong ladder can be dangerous. Think about the task at hand, choose the right size and style, and be sure to follow the directions on the ladder before you climb. Some things to consider:
No matter what kind of ladder you're using, place the base on a firm, solid surface and avoid slippery, wet or soft surfaces.
When people use ladders frequently at work or at home, they can run the risk of becoming complacent. Make sure every time you step on a ladder you are mindful of the task at hand.
It may seem obvious that using a ladder during a storm is not a good idea, but we're going to mention it anyway.
You can find more ladder safety resources from the
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the
American Ladder Institute.
Falls were the leading cause of nonfatal injuries for all age groups, except for 15- to 24-year-olds, according to Injury Facts. Thousands of people are injured or killed due to falls from a ladder or scaffolding at work. Workers in the construction industry are most at risk. Of all occupational injuries, falls are the second leading cause of death next to highway crashes.
To bring greater attention to this problem, The
National Safety Council supports the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in its Fall Safety Stand-Down. For more information on
ladder safety at work, visit OSHA's website. The NSC Construction and Utilities Division also offers this Safety at Heights tool kit.
In recognition of Older Americans Month in May, NSC offers some statistics and solutions for keeping your loved ones safe from falls.
Safety+Health magazine, published by the National Safety Council, offers a wealth of articles on fall prevention topics.