steep ladder leaning on gutter

14 Ladder Safety Rules Every Homeowner Should Know

Ladder safety is important for every homeowner. Inevitably, you’ll need to climb a ladder at some point. Whether you need to change a lightbulb in a cathedral ceiling, inspect your roof to find a leak, or even install a GutterBrush simple leaf guard, this is essential safety info for you.

According to the Ladder Safety Institute,  there’s one ladder-accident death and 180 ladder-accident injuries every other day in the United States. Alarming? You bet. But when you are vigilant in following ladder safety rules, you can avoid becoming a sad statistic. 


14 Ladder Safety Tips

  1. Dress for the job: Before you even think about heading to your shed and pulling out a ladder, make sure that you are dressed for the job. Wear clothing that’s comfortable but not so loose that it will catch on things as you climb. Wear non-slip, closed-toe, rubber-soled boots or shoes for this job.
  2. Check the weather conditions: Don’t choose a blustery, rainy day to make those repairs to your roof or clean your gutters. Slippery mud isn’t a stable base for your ladder.  Add to that, high winds can cause ladders to sway from side to side. Needless to say, lightning and the metal parts of your metal ladder don’t mix well!
  3. Know your capabilities: Are you physically able to climb a ladder? If not, hire a helper and stay off the ladder!
  4. Choose the correct ladder: Select a ladder that’s tall enough to allow a comfortable reach to do the job. Also, check the weight rating to make sure it’s designed to support you! Your ladder should have a sticker on it that states this information. If it is missing, check the manufacturer’s website for the information.
  5. Inspect the ladder: Before you climb, set up your ladder. Whether it’s a stepladder or extension-style, this is a must-do. Ensure all parts latch securely, screws are in place, and rungs are sturdy. If they are not, don’t climb the ladder.
  6. Enlist a buddy: Have your spouse or a neighbor keep an eye on you when you’re tackling a big job. An extra set of eyes from the ground is a great idea. Also, your buddy can stay below to hoist materials and tools up to you, and back down when the job’s finished.
  7. One at a time: But, don’t let your buddy on the ladder at the same time as you! Only one person should climb a household-rated ladder at a time.
  8. Clear the ground: When setting up the ladder, make sure the ground is free of debris, wet leaves, mud, slippery drop cloths, or anything else that can cause the ladder to slip.
  9. Level the ladder: Make sure the ladder is level and firmly planted on the surface prior to ascent.
  10. Stabilize the ladder: Don’t make the ladder shimmy by making it too steep (or not steep enough) when you’re climbing. The approximate distance from the side of your home to the base of the ladder should be roughly 25% of the ladder’s height.
  11. Three’s the magic number: Use the 3-point climb when ascending or descending. This means you should always have both feet and one hand or both hands and one foot on the ladder at all times while on a ladder. This makes your stance on the ladder more stable.
  12. Don’t over reach: When completing some jobs, it’s necessary to move your ladder many times throughout the project. Good examples of this are when you’re painting a room or performing gutter maintenance Resist the temptation to reach too far out. This can cause the ladder to kick out from under you.
  13. Block doorways: If your ladder is set up outside of a door that swings out towards the ladder, make sure the door is guarded by your “buddy.” A door swinging into a ladder can cause disastrous consequences.
  14. Don’t top it off: Never. Ever. Stand on the very top rung of an extension ladder or the top platform of a stepladder. You will create a dangerously top-heavy environment for yourself. 


The Takeaway:

Ladders are a necessary household tool. You will need to use one, for some job, some day. It’s up to you to take the precautions to keep yourself safe!


Author Bio: Deborah Tayloe is a DIY blogger and content writer for GutterBrush. She loves to write about DIY ideas and is a particular fan of furniture restoration. When she’s not writing about DIY topics, she’s putting her knowledge to use renovating her 50-year-old home one room at a time.

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