Let’s talk ladder safety – ’twas the injury before the holidays

Cherice Corley

Every holiday season, hundreds of people per day are admitted to emergency rooms due to holiday ladder and lighting accidents.

Whether stapling your sleeves to gutters or stringing lights to them, use the Holiday Lighting and Ladder Safety Checklist below to avoid a holiday disaster and go from “Oh, no!” to “Ho Ho Ho!”

If you are stringing lights around your home like most, pay attention to the following ladder safety tips:

  • Follow instructions and warning labels on ladders. Make sure you are under the maximum load rating. Always use the correct ladder for the job. It’s best to use a ladder that extends at least 3 feet over the working surface.
  • Place ladder on level ground. If you can’t find a level surface, purchase some leg levelers from your local hardware store. Do not use objects, such as rocks or lumber.
  • To position, the ladder lay it on the ground with the feet against the side of the house. Then, walk the ladder up, hand over hand. As the ladder gets to be vertical, walk the base of the ladder back (1 foot away from the base for every 4 feet of height). So, if your ladder is 20 feet high, the base should be around 5 feet from your house.
  • Never use a ladder during bad weather, such as strong winds, rain, or lightning. When not in use, store your ladder in a sheltered area.
  • Use a ladder with slip-resistant rungs.
  • Go up and down the ladder with both hands on the side rails. If you become dizzy, hold on with both hands, close your eyes and focus on your breathing until you feel well enough to climb down. Climb down slowly and carefully.
  • Keep both feet on the ladder. Do not reach more than 1 foot to either side of your center.
  • Never try to walk the ladder to a new position while you are still on it. Climb down and move the ladder while your feet are on the ground. Avoid any sudden or jerky movements.
  • Remove all materials and tools from the ladder before moving it.
  • Only one person on the ladder at a time.

Whether at home or work, following these ladder safety tips can prevent falls and serious injuries.