Lots of people will be climbing ladders to take down decorations or do winter maintenance, so now is a good time for a few reminders on ladder safety from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:
- Inspect the ladder for loose screws, hinges or rungs. Clean off mud or other matter that has accumulated on the ladder.
- Set up the ladder on a firm, level, slip-free surface. If you're working outside, make sure the ladder won't hit electrical wires, tree limbs or other obstructions when it's extended.
- Remember the 1-to-4 rule: The bottom of the ladder should be 1 foot away from the wall for every 4 feet the ladder rises.
- If you're climbing onto a roof, the ladder should extend at least 3 feet higher than the roof.
- Never sit on the ladder's top or pail shelf.
- Move materials with caution when you're on the ladder, so you don't lose your balance.
- Always reposition the ladder closer to the work so you don't have to reach or lean. Your navel shouldn't go beyond the sides of the ladder.
- Wear proper, nonslip footwear. Make sure the laces are tied and the soles are free of greasy, oily or wet substances. Pant legs shouldn't be too wide or too long.
- Stay in the center of the ladder as you climb, and hold the side rails with both hands. If necessary, ask someone to hold the ladder while you climb.