So you’re getting ready to clean out your gutters. Not a fun project. It’s gross, time consuming, and sometimes you just don’t want to see what’s been caught up there. But on top of this there are other dangers lurking behind this task: death, dismemberment, and (the scariest of all) humiliation. Whatever you do, read this article in its entirety before setting up that extension ladder. And keep an eye out for sneaky friends with cameras.
The American Ladder Institute warns that 160,000 people get hurt every year because they don’t follow appropriate ladder safety precautions. On top of this, 300 people dieeach year from the same kind of negligence around ladders. You don’t want to go out like that. Plus, what would the neighbors think.
Use Common Sense
YouTube is full of videos of guys (and gals) having a lapse in common sense when at the top of a ladder. They end up embarrassing themselves in front of their neighbors, and someone’s always got their camera phone out to make sure the entire internet can join in on the laugh. This torment is not fun and neither are the bruises.
There are some easy rules to follow when clambering up and down extension ladders.
1. Set your ladder at the correct angle – Number one rule. The funniest YouTube videos are when the guy sets his ladder up too steep, and he just falls straight back. Don’t be that guy. Touch your toes to the feet of the ladder and stand straight up. If your ladder is at the perfect angle, your palms should be able to just reach the rung straight ahead of you.
2. Level ground – Simple. Don’t climb a ladder leaning left or right. And please, please don’t just stack bucket lids or some other ridiculous objects under the feet of the ladder. Make sure it’s level, and make sure it’s solid.
3. Check the duty rating – Make sure your ladder is built to hold all your weight and the weight of whatever you’re carrying up and down.
4. Do not stand on the top rung – If I have to explain this one…
5. Three points of contact – Whenever possible, keep three points of contact with the ladder rungs. One foot and two hands (or any other combination you might be able to come up with).
Stay safe, and don’t end up on YouTube.
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Stephen Craig enjoys writing about home improvement and various DIY projects.