6 Home Ladder Safety Tips to Help Keep You Safe While You DIY
If you own your own home, you’ll likely have to get up on a ladder at one point or another. However, using a ladder improperly can be a big safety risk. In light of that, we’ve brought you six home ladder safety tips will help ensure that you stay safe and sound when you tackle your next DIY project.
Here are six home ladder safety tips for you to remember
1. Choose the right ladder and the right location.
Our first home ladder safety tip begins before you even think about starting to climb. It’s important to make sure that you’re using the right type of ladder and are putting it in the right location. For example, you wouldn’t want to use a tiny step stool for a tall project that clearly requires an extension ladder. As a rule of thumb, you always want a ladder to be at least a few feet taller than the highest point where it makes contact with another surface.
As for location, you always want to put a ladder on a smooth, dry surface and to ensure that all of the ladder’s feet are making contact with the ground. Otherwise, the ladder could shift under you and cause a fall or another injury.
2. Make sure that the spreaders are fully extended.
Most ladders have metal braces called “spreaders” that connect the front and back rungs together. In order for the ladder to be stable, the spreaders need to be fully extended before you start climbing. If they are bent at all, the ladder will not be sufficiently sturdy and may collapse underneath you.
In the event that your ladder does not have spreaders, there will almost certainly be a locking device that needs to be engaged. Make sure that the ladder is properly locked before stepping on any of the rungs.
3. Remember to position extension ladders correctly.
Step ladders and A-frame ladders can stand independently. However, extension ladders cannot. Instead, they need to be leaned against a supporting structure. Still, positioning them correctly can be tricky. If the ladder is placed too close to the supporting structure, the ladder will not be sturdy and it may start to fall backward as you climb.
When positioning an extension ladder, you should try to angle the bottom of the ladder one foot away from the supportive structure for every four feet of ladder length.
4. Keep three limbs in contact with the ladder at all times.
While it may be tempting to carry tools while climbing the ladder or to use two hands to pull stuck leaves out of the gutter, you should really have three points of contact with the ladder at all times.
By “three points of contact” we mean keeping two feet and one hand or two hands and one foot touching the ladder’s surface. That way, if you should start to fall backward, you’ll be able to grab on more easily and hopefully regain your balance.
5. Always have a spotter — the ultimate home ladder safety tip.
Whenever you get up on a ladder, ideally, there should be someone spotting you while you climb. Not only can they help to hold the ladder steady if it starts to shift, but if you do fall, they will also be able to call for help from the appropriate sources.
That said, there should never be two people on a ladder at the same time. Ladders have set weight limits and, if someone climbs up behind you, the ladder is much more likely to buckle underneath you.
6. Avoid standing on the top cap.
Sometimes it’s easy to underestimate the size of ladder you need for a project. When that happens, it can be tempting to climb up on the very top cap of the ladder to try and reach your goal. Unfortunately, doing so can very easily throw off the ladder’s center of gravity, causing you to fall backward.
Luckily, every ladder should have a notation on the highest step where it is safe to climb. Usually, this notation comes in the form of a warning sticker, but it can also be a painted-on symbol. However your ladder is marked, make sure to find and make note of this limit.
The bottom line on these home ladder safety tips
Whether you’re on a ladder as part of a home renovation or your regular home maintenance routine, safety should be your top priority. With that in mind, be sure to keep these home ladder safety tips close at hand. If you need to, you can refer back to them again and again. In this case, it is much better to be safe than sorry.