97% of Ladder Injuries Occur Outside of the Workplace
Taking care of your home shouldn’t be dangerous, but when the right precautions are not taken homeowners put themselves at risk of injury while working on home improvement projects.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, about 500,000 people every year are treated for ladder-related injuries, and about 300 of these are fatal injuries.
While work-related ladder injuries are still a concern, a 16-year study has shown that 97% of ladder injuries are actually occurring outside the workplace, including homes. Published on Pubmed, this study found that more than 2.1 million people needed to be hospitalized for ladder injuries, twice the overall admission rate for consumer-product related injuries.
This increase in ladder injuries, especially in the home, has led to a call for more awareness and education on proper ladder safety.
What You Should Know about Ladder Safety
The first thing you need to do to avoid ladder injuries is to make sure you are using the right type of ladder for the job. You need to ask yourself, is the ladder tall enough to reach where I need to go? How much weight will be needed to hold the ladder in place? Is the job indoors or outdoors?
Once you have selected the right ladder, you need to make sure that you place the base of the ladder on a firm surface, never on a wet and slippery or soft surface.
Keep these other tips in mind also:
- If you have to use a ladder on a soft surface, then put a board underneath the ladder’s feet.
- Never lean a straight or extension ladder against an unstable surface like a window pane.
- Always place the ladder one foot away from the surface it’s resting on for every 4 feet of the ladder’s height.
- Make sure to secure the ladder to an upper support structure.
- If you are using a step ladder, check to be sure it is fully open before you step on it.
- Have someone with you who can guard any nearby doorways so no one walks by unexpectedly and knocks you off.
- If the ladder won’t reach high enough, get a taller ladder before continuing. Never place a box or other type of object on the ladder for extra height.
Take Precautions While on Ladder
One of the most important things to remember when working on a ladder is to always stay alert. No matter how many times or how many different situations you have handled being on a ladder perfectly, you must never grow complacent because that is when mistakes happen.
While you are on the ladder, always face the ladder and always grip the rungs, not the side rails. Always being touching the ladder in three spots. This could mean two feet and one hand or two hands and one feet. Also, never get off a ladder from the side.
When using an extension ladder, be sure to extend it 3 feet about the roof or platform you are trying to reach. While you are up there, do not stand any higher than the third rung and do not lean over or overreach while on the ladder. If you can’t reach something, the safest approach is to reposition the ladder.
You should also never climb a ladder when you have tools or other objects in your hands. That is what your tool belt is for. You should also always wear slip-resistant shoes. And remember that only one person should be on the ladder at the same time.
Other tips to keep in mind include never using a ladder in windy or bad weather, and always clean up the ladder after each use.
Avoid the Ladder When You Can
If you are still apprehensive about climbing ladders and worried about ladder injuries, don’t worry there are still ways to get common household chores like cleaning out the gutters done without needing a ladder.
One option of course is to hire a professional cleaning company. If you are going to do it yourself, make sure you have a sturdy ladder and never ever stand on the top two rungs. By using a leaf blower or a hose, you can also limit the amount of time you might need to be up a ladder. Make sure you wear goggles and a dust mask and heavy work gloves. You can also purchase a gutter cleaning kit that can connect to your leaf blower.
Besides focusing on what is just in the gutters, also make sure to use the leaf blower to blow any leaves or debris off the roof itself so it doesn’t all end up in the gutters the next time it rains.
There are also different gutter guards and leaf-catchers that can help make maintaining your gutter system a lot easier. But be careful when choosing one because, debris can still settle through them and many of these products are not cheap. If you do decide to get one, make sure it can be easily removed for cleaning.
Another product that can make maintaining your gutter system easier is TheSpoutOff. It is especially helpful if you have small rain gutter outlets because TheSpoutoff outlets are designed with a larger opening allowing for water to still run down even if other parts of the gutter are clogged. Another great plus is that these outlets are easy to keep clean through the removable downspout that allows you to check on the outlets without having to climb a ladder. With TheSpoutOff, a fear of heights or balance concerns will no longer keep you from properly taking care of your home and it is a lot cheaper than hiring a professional cleaner to come regularly to clear out all the debris.
The SpoutOff can be retrofitted to your current gutter system or it can be added to a new one, depending upon your needs. The instructions are relatively easy to follow so it is something you can easily install yourself, but any local gutter company can do it for you as well.
Want to learn more about how TheSpoutOff can make your seasonal outdoor chores a lot easier? Contact TheSpoutOff today to learn how it can take the hassle out of cleaning your gutters.