It’s summer. The Illinois ice is gone and homeowners have a lot of do-it-yourself chores to attend to. Much of the jobs may take them to the heights of maintenance work, several stories up, and the easiest way to reach the necessary altitudes involves the use of ladders. Are you prepared to use them properly, which is to say, safely?
You as safety inspector
As with any work around the home, it’s important to have the right tools, and ladders certainly count among the most important. Working at heights is dangerous for anyone. For the average homeowner, who might only climb stepladders on a regular basis, it becomes even more essential to be sure that tasks are done with utmost care, following proper safety practices and making sure your equipment is up to the task.
The latter of those two precautions isn’t always easy to gauge. Indeed, it can be an issue even with brand new ladders, as evidenced by news from one of the biggest names in ladder safety, Werner. The company recently issued a nationwide recall of five models sold this spring through Home Depot and Lowe’s stores. It covers nearly 78,000 units.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says the problem is that the ladders can suddenly break, creating a fall hazard. At least one such injury has been reported already. The CPSC and Werner are urging consumers to immediately stop using the ladders and return them for a full refund.
Whether you have one of the problematic ladders or not, tips from the American Ladder Institute are worth following.
- Inspect ladders before use for ricketiness, or loose or missing parts.
- Check the on-ladder information to be sure it is rated for the duty you are using it for.
- Be sure to wear secure footwear that is clean and has slip-resistant soles.
- Place the ladder on an even, solid surface and be sure the top support point is not slippery.
- Don’t allow more than one person on the ladder at once, unless the design allows it.
- Maintain three points of hand and foot contact at all times and keep the your stomach within the sides of the ladder.
- Don’t climb if you are feeling tired or dizzy.
- Stay off ladders in storm conditions of high wind or rain.
It’s great to get items checked off your list. However, if a defective product leaves you injured, you have a right to seek recovery for damages. Such cases tend to be complex, so always consult an experienced attorney to learn your rights and options.