Many of us are at home more this year and are tackling those home projects. You know those projects that you never have time for but spend countless hours watching "How To" videos on YouTube. If you're looking to build something with basic tools and knowledge, check out Ann-White for some inspiration and free drawings. It is one of my favorite DIY websites. As I mentioned on Monday a really close friend of mine fell from a ladder over the weekend. She is a little bruised up but she'll recover.
Before we get into the details there is more to safety than just climbing the ladder. There is picking out the proper ladder for the job, checking the weight limits, inspecting the ladder, being aware of the weather conditions and the list goes on. *Each year, there are more than 164k emergency room-treated injuries and 300 deaths in the U.S. from ladder falls. Most of these accidents take place at 10ft and below.
I've made some poor judgements in the past with ladder safety but I got lucky and there were no mishaps. I now have a healthy fear and respect for the smallest of jobs. Even if you're amongst the most experienced ladder operators, accidents happen. Nothing is more important than the safety of yourself and the people around you. Let's get into these six climbing safety tips.
1. Ladder Feet are Firm & Secure
Make sure your ladder’s feet are firmly and securely on the ground.
2. Three Points of Contact
Two hands and one foot or one hand and two feet is considered safe. This can be a little awkward the first time that you're getting ready to step out onto the roof from the ladder. I like to put one foot on the roof, while I still have one hand and one foot on the ladder. Then I put the second foot on the roof, while I'm still holding the ladder. Depending on the slope of the roof, I may then take my other hand and put it on the roof (4-Points of contact) and then when I'm secure I'll proceed with walking/inspecting the roof.
3. Always Face the Ladder
Never climb with your back to the ladder. You want to be able to see where your next step is and where the next rung is. Take your time and get up and down safely.
4.Use the Rungs as Grips
Always face the ladder and use the rungs as grips. Avoid using the side rails to pull yourself up. Keep your body centered on the ladder. The rungs allow you to hold on and use that strong grip. The side rails are like a slide and you don't want to slide to the ground. Here's a secret, it hurts!
5. Tie Down
I like to use bungees. I used to use one large bungee for the right and left side rail. Now I use two small bungees, one for each side. Tieing down the ladder helps to keep it from slipping. Highly recommend incorporating this into your ladder climbing routine.
6. Wear Proper Shoes and Eye Wear
Wear the right shoes. When climbing a ladder, you want to be wearing work boots or work shoes. Tennis shoes with appropriate tread are acceptable for light-duty job. I have tried several different pairs of boots and I haven't found one that is functional and comfortable. Don't even get me started on style because it is all but nonexistent. Right now I am partial to LEM's. You have to be comfortable and find what works for you and the job at hand.
Don't forget those shades! They're not made to just make you look cool, they also protect your eyes. Especially if you're getting on a white TPO (short for thermoplastic polyolefin) roofing system. My favorite sunglasses for property inspections and outdoor activities are the OG's by Goodr.