This is the perfect time to remind you to be very cautious when taking down Christmas lights and decorations. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission notes that thousands of persons are treated annually in emergency rooms, doctors’ clinics, and other medical facilities due to injuries caused from improper ladder use. Since ladders are the most important apparatus you use when doing this type of work, we want to share this information with you, to help you be sure that you use the right kind:
- Industrial – heavy duty with a load capacity of not more than 250 lbs. – Type I.
- Commercial – medium duty with load capacity of not more than 225 lbs. (such as painting or other tasks) – Type II.
- Household – light duty with load capacity of not more than 200 lbs. – Type III.
- Stepladders – ideal for chores in the house or office. A stepladder makes a good choice for many duties: they are easy to manage and take up little storage space. Be sure to try it in the store before you purchase it, because you want to be sure it is comfortable and feels stable to climb.
Aluminum ladders are the most durable, but they conduct electricity. Wood ladders are popular, but they eventually may rot. The most durable and non-conductive ladders are fiberglass. Always be sure to inspect stored ladders for cracks or breaks.
Other tips on the use of ladders include:
- Don’t go higher than the 2nd rung on a stepladder or 3rd rung on a straight or extension ladder.
- Never stand on top or on the paint shelf of a ladder.
- Do not leave ladders unattended. Children love to try them out!
- Maintain 3-point contact while climbing a ladder. (Either 2 hands and a foot, or two feet and one hand.)
- Stay in the center of the ladder at all times.
- If you work in an office, or at home, please, please don’t use a chair to change a light bulb or reach something. Find the stepladder, it’s much safer!
According to OSHA, falls from step, straight, combination and extension ladders are one of the leading causes of occupational fatalities and injuries. As we all know, accidents happen at home, as well, and might have devastating outcomes. Play it safe as you take down the trimmings; because time flies, you’ll soon be putting them back up again.