Article by: Jeremy Kelsey
Some homeowners try to save money by doing work around the house themselves but, in many instances, DIYing certain types of home maintenance and improvements is unsafe and impractical — particularly those that require the use of a ladder. These jobs are best left in the hands of experienced professionals. As reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 164,000 people receive emergency medical treatment for ladder-related injuries every year, and 300 people die from them — and this number keeps climbing. And according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, most of these accidents could be avoided just by using the proper climbing and equipment practices.
Common Mistakes Made While Using a Ladder
While climbing a ladder may seem like a no-brainer, there are a number of mistakes that people tend to make when doing so. Most of them can easily be avoided by observing basic ladder safety practices. In this blog, we share a few of the most common mistakes homeowners make when using a ladder:
- Choosing the wrong type of ladder. The type of ladder you should use will depend on the project you’re trying to complete. Different types of ladders have different uses, and each one will have a weight limit. Obviously, it’s not safe to get on the ladder if your weight exceeds the posted limit. One of the most dangerous things you can do is stand on the top step of a ladder. You’re much more likely to lose your balance in this position, which will significantly increase the chances of falling. If the ladder isn’t tall enough for what you’re doing, under no circumstances should you put the ladder on something else to reach higher. Instead, switch to an extension ladder that can give you more height while still maintaining stability.
- Not using the ladder correctly. While the warnings and directions that ladder manufacturers include on their ladders may be intended to protect themselves from liability, this doesn’t make them any less believable. Some of these warnings include:
- Never use a ladder for anything other than what it’s intended.
- Don’t reach for something that’s not within reach of the top of the ladder.
- Don’t climb up or down the ladder with your hands full.
Placing a Ladder Properly
Situating a ladder on stable, level ground is essential for maintaining safety while climbing and balancing on it. Other mistakes such as placing the ladder in front of a door or other areas where it can accidentally be bumped or knocked over can be dangerous as well. Setting the ladder at the wrong angle can cause it to fall over or slip, while resting it against gutters can cause it to slide (as well as damage the gutters). If your overhang extends out too far when you need to work on your gutters, you’ll either have to try to access them from the roof or, better yet, call in professionals to help you. Either option is dangerous, which is why most crews send out at least two people when the use of ladders is required.
Install a Gutter Helmet® System
To avoid having to use a ladder, at least when it comes to cleaning out gutters, consider installing a Gutter Helmet® gutter protection system. We have the best gutter guards around, and they do an excellent job of keeping leaves, twigs and other debris out of your gutters. In fact, there’s a good chance that with a Gutter Helmet system, you’ll never have to clean your gutters again! To find out more about this exceptional system, contact Gutter Helmet today by calling (800) 824-3772 or reach us via our online form.