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How to Safely Use a Ladder

Most homes and buildings have ladders for all kinds of maintenance jobs required around structures. Ladders are useful tools to have, but certain safety measures must always be obeyed to help prevent accidents. For example, always make sure that ladders or stepladders are not left out unattended. Ladders must never be left by themselves as children, passersby and even pets may find them tempting or accidentally trip on them.

Ensure the safe use of ladders and you'll help save yourself a trip to the hospital-keep safety in mind at all times when you are working on a ladder. It always pays to be careful as the slightest error in judgment could cause you to have an awful plunge.

So whether you are a simply changing a light bulb, lopping off a branch over the roof or painting the walls, you have got to be just a bit more careful while on a ladder. It's wise spending time setting up ladders efficiently. Make it safe before you climb up. It only takes a little time to provide that firm footing and stabilize it. Here are some suggestions to ensure ladder safety:

. Make thorough scrutiny of the ladder before using it. Inspect the rungs carefully and make sure they are not loose or skidding. Attach skid-resistant strips to be safe.

. Always watch out for signs of any cracks or splits. In case of bent rungs, make sure you repair them before you use the ladder. Bent rungs are very unsafe and should not exist above three feet.

. Take care to position the ladder so that the distance between the base and the wall is a minimum of one-quarter of the ladder's length up to the point of support.

. Extension ladders provide additional reach but you must ensure that when you open them, there is at least three feet of overlap. Also be very sure to click shut the rung locks to engage them properly.

. Whenever you climb up and down the ladder, have your face towards the ladder. Also, keep at least one hand on the rails at all times. In cases where you need both hands to do a job, secure yourself firmly to the ladder.

. Stepladders should not be opened halfway up. They ought to be fully opened and the braces should be locked tightly.

. You should always ensure that the feet of the ladder are always on a dry, even surface. Wet and uneven surfaces can be very hazardous.

. Never use an aluminum ladder near live electrical sources.

. See that you climb only as high as the ladder is designed to go up. Under no circumstance should you ever climb past the final rung; where your hips are above the top of the ladder.

. Remember to store tools or smaller equipment in your back pockets or your tool belt. This way you will not have to climb up and down too often.

. At no point in time should you allow more than one person on a ladder. Also, avoid having someone stand directly beneath you while you are on the ladder in case you drop anything.

. Most ladders come with written instructions on them advising you exactly how to use them. It's always a good idea to read these warnings and follow them closely.

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