Yesterday we talked about how to ensure toys are safe when one engages in some last minute holiday shopping, but that’s hardly the only last minute activity going on across the country. In the midst of a busy holiday season, there might be households that have yet to receive the holiday light overlay that comes with this time of the year. If you are one such person who plans to hang holiday decorations a little late this year, then consider some of these tips from the Consumer Product Safety Commission as related by Consumer Reports.
Safety preparation begins before you even begin climbing the rungs. Check out how much weight the ladder is supposed to hold, and don’t forget to take into consideration any equipment you might have on you when you attempt to figure out if the ladder can sustain your weight. The ladder should also be suitable for the task at hand. Fiberglass or wood ladders should be in use if you’re going to be anywhere near power lines or other equipment that could pose a shock hazard. And if you’re going to be heading up onto the roof, make sure your ladder is sufficiently tall. The top of the unit should be no less than three feet over the lip of the roof.
Once you’ve picked the right ladder, setup then becomes crucial. That means ensuring that the ground is level and doesn’t cave beneath the ladder’s weight. For ground that doesn’t meet these requirements, pick up some leg levelers to limit the fall threat. The legs of the ladders should also be slip resistant, especially when placed on a potentially slick surface. The ladder should then be set up at a 75 degree angle. One handy tip to ensure this angle is achieved is to stand at the ladder’s base and reach forward; if your palm hits the rung, you should be good to go.
When you begin your ascent, further ensure your own safety by having someone hold the ladder. Keep yourself centered as you climb; instead of leaning out to hang lights, climb back down and move the entire ladder in order to limit your exposure. Never let another individual alight upon the ladder once someone else has begun their ascent, and make sure you never attempt to balance on the ladder’s top three rungs. The same goes for any bucket shelf that’s meant to hold equipment, not a human being.
Finally, when you’re finished hanging your holiday lights, you should climb down cautiously and store the ladder until it’s needed next. That way, the ladder won’t topple, and others in the area won’t be tempted to climb in a way that’s unsafe.