Spring Cleaning/Ladder Safety

When the weather starts to break and some warmer weather moves in, the spring cleaning bug starts to bite. Everything that winter storms moved out of place needs put back into place, all the debris lodged in gutters needs to be removed, and maybe even those holiday decorations need to come down. Plus the inside of the house needs a bit of sprucing up as well. Those ceiling fans need to be wiped off, those closets need to be organized, and getting in and out of the attic is usually a tighter squeeze than last year. All of these chores usually have one thing in common-using the trusty old ladder.

According to Culture of Safety, more than 90,000 people visit the emergency room from ladder-related injuries every year, and nearly half of those accidents were a result of people carrying objects as they climbed or descended the ladder. Of course, many people worry about ladder use at work and do not associate the dangers of using ladders at home, but 97-percent of all those injuries occur in non-occupational settings, according to Health Day, which underscores the importance of safely using ladders in spring cleaning projects at home.

The most basic ladder safety rule that should be followed is one that occurs before the device is even used-inspecting the ladder before use. Checking for cracked steps and broken latches greatly reduce the chances of the unit breaking during use. Plus, double-checking that the weight rating is enough to accommodate the user and all the equipment that is going to be transported is a great idea as well. Ladders need to be placed on firm level ground and should be high enough that the top of the ladder is three feet above the landing surface.

To prevent unsafe leaning and climbing from occurring, the "Three Points of Contact" rule is a great one to keep in mind. Basically, either two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand should always be in contact with the ladder. This rule ensures that the gutters, ceiling fan, or other elevated items get cleaned without a trip to the emergency room.

In the end, ladder safety and proper use of a ladder need to be something homeowners and renters focus on. Falls from height are serious issues, and they can be fatal. Taking a few minutes to inspect the ladder and using the "Three Points" rule are great ways to minimize the risk associated with use. Spring cleaning can actually be pretty dangerous, which means taking steps to make it as safe as possible is a great idea.