Several years ago, I climbed a ladder to inspect a roof. When I was done with the roof inspection, I took a step onto the top of the ladder and suddenly the bottom of the ladder started to slide out. I was definitely on my way to a crash landing! Fortunately, my client was there, quickly stabilized the ladder, and probably saved my life.
People fall off ladders all the time, usually with injuries or worse. I know 2 home inspectors that have fallen, one broke his clavicle and another one broke his leg. According to the American ladder Institute, over 30,000 people each year fall from ladders and get injured. If they had followed basic ladder safety protocols most of these accidents would not have happened.
Although there are a lot of ladder guidelines, here are a few that I feel are the most important. For the complete article and more detailed suggestions, click here: American Ladder Institute
Abbreviated ladder safety suggestions
- Probably one of the most important things to do is have a second person physically hold the ladder to stabilize it.
- Always keep at least three points of contact with the ladder, (2 feet, and 1 hand, or 2 hands and 1 foot).
- Only place the ladder on firm level ground and without any type of slippery condition present at either the base or top support points.
- Never step on the top rung or step of the ladder.
- Be very careful not to overreach and lose your balance.
- Stay off ladders in high winds or storms.
- Make sure the ladder is in good shape, inspect it first.
- Wear clean slip resistant shoes.
- Don’t place the ladder in front of a closed door.
- Use a rope, a tool belt, or have an assistant convey materials so that your hands are free when climbing.
- Stay focused.