The Basics of Ladder Safety

As professional gutter contractor, climbing up and down a ladder hundreds of times a day is just part of the job.   It can be an exhausting and treacherous task and one of the main reasons why homeowners hire a professional to do the work.  In fact, the Center for Disease Control reported that 43% of all fall fatalities in the last decade involved a ladder.*  The height at which the fall may occur only makes the risks of this jobsite hazard even more dangerous.  For this reason, it is important that all contractors keep ladder safety in mind each and every time they climb.

Follow these guidelines for proper ladder safety:

Before you begin working
:

Prior to setting up your ladder, check out the area in which you’ll be working.  Is it a high traffic area where adults or kids may be passing through?  Are there any signs of bee’s nests, birds nest, low-hanging branches or other environmental concerns?  

Visually inspect the existing roof, gutters, and building’s general exterior for signs of deterioration.
Assess the levelness of the ground looking for areas of unevenness or dips.

Consider the weather conditions.  Ladders should not be used during periods of high wind or storms.

Wear the right gear to stay safe.  Slip-resistant shoes are a must.  For better traction, clean the bottoms of the shoes soles prior to working.  You also want to utilize gear which helps you remain hands-free while climbing up and down. Consider wearing a tool belt or having a helper hand you tools and material.

Selecting the right ladder:

Size the ladder right for the job at hand. The ladder’s Duty Rating should be sufficient enough to handle the climber as well as all tools and supplies.  It should also be tall enough that the climber does not need to use the top rung to reach the working area.

Inspect the ladder prior to use.  Check for loose or damaged parts.  A ladder that leans or sways should never be used. 

Using the ladder properly:
When climbing a ladder, use slow, deliberate steps avoiding sudden movements.

Never attempt to move a ladder while you are on it.

Avoid overreaching while on the ladder.  A good rule is to keep your belt buckle in between the ladder’s side rails at all times.

Follow the Three Point-of-Contact rule at all times.  To minimize your risk of falling maintain three points of contact to the ladder while climbing up or down or working from it.  Keep either two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand on the ladders steps, side rails, and/or rungs.

At GutterSupply.com, we know how important ladder safety is to your business.  Helping keep you and your employee’s safe on the jobsite, we offer equipment such as the Ladder-Max ladder stabilizer and more.  Browse our extensive website to learn more about our large selection of safety products.  We make it convenient to order right online for all of your gutter supply needs.

*Occupational Ladder Fall Injuries – United States, 2011

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