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Ladder safety: Not something to be ignored

Climbing a ladder is frightening to many people. For others, we do it every day on the job and using ladders becomes commonplace. This is a dangerous position to be in because we forget just how perilous using a ladder can be.

If you're a painter, construction worker, artist or just a tinkerer at home, you'll want to keep the following ladder safety tips in mind.

How to safely use a ladder

You might think you're responsible enough to use a ladder safely as it is, but it never hurts to have a quick ladder safety review. These tips could even save your life:

  • Pick the right kind of ladder: How high do you need to climb? How much do you weigh and how much weight does your ladder need to support? Is your job going to happen inside or outside? Answering these questions will help you select the right kind of ladder for the job.
  • Check the foundation: Be sure that your ladder is on a solid base that isn't slippery or soft. Put a board under the feet of the ladder if a soft base is unavoidable.
  • Lean it against something stable: Don't lean the ladder against a glass window or any other kind of unstable surface.
  • Fasten it down: Don't just lean a ladder against a wall, tie it down to something at the top of the ladder so it doesn't slide off to the side while you're on it.
  • Open it all the way: Step ladders should be opened fully until the braces lock. Never open a step ladder just part of the way.
  • Be careful of doorways: Don't put a ladder near a door that could open and knock the ladder off balance.
  • Take care when climbing: Grip the rungs and not the sides of the ladder, and face the ladder while climbing carefully.
  • Keep three points of contact: You should always have one foot and two hands, or two feet and one hand making contact with the ladder at all times.

Use your noggin to avoid hurting your noggin

There are a lot more ladder safety tips, but they're too many to name here. Talk to your employer if you're a construction worker, and he or she can give you more information about ladder safety. Also, use your head, and maintain a common-sense perspective about ladder safety. This will help you avoid serious and costly work-related injuries that could leave you unable to work.

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