One of the most common mechanisms of injury admitted to Boston Medical Center’s Trauma Center is falls. In fact, last year alone we saw 598! We typically see a spike during the holiday season, particularly when one of the first tools homeowners reach for is a ladder to string those lights. Ladders are useful tools, but if you do not follow the proper safety tips, you could hurt yourself.
Tips for Injury Prevention
Follow these safety tips from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and soon, you will be on your way to successfully and safely completing your holiday chores.
Inspect the Ladder
- Check the ladder for any loose screws, hinges or rungs that you might not have fixed before you put it away for the winter.
- Clean off any mud or other liquids that might have accumulated on the ladder.
Properly Set Up the Ladder
- Every ladder should be placed on a firm, level surface. The ground may be very bumpy because of the freezing and thawing during the winter.
- Never place a ladder on ground that is uneven. The same is true for uneven flooring.
- Remember always to engage the ladder locks or braces before you climb.
Do Not Use a Ladder as a Seat Between Tasks
- You might want to take a break, but never use a step ladder’s top or pail shelf as a seat. It is not designed to carry your weight.
Move Materials With Caution When On the Ladder
- Be careful pushing or pulling anything from shelves while standing on a ladder. You could lose your balance and fall off.
Always Reposition the Ladder Closer to the Work
- Over-reaching or leaning far to one side when you’re on the ladder could make you lose your balance and fall.
Be Careful When Climbing and Get Help If You Need It
- Be safe. Ask someone to hold the ladder while you climb. Stay in the center of the ladder as you climb, and always hold the side rails with both hands.