The holidays are coming. Whether you are putting up a 12-foot skeleton in October or festive lights in December, your seasonal decorating probably involves a ladder. You can do a few things to ensure you practice holiday ladder safety and avoid the emergency room. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, falls were the dominant hazard pattern, accounting for 25,710 of the 28,510 estimated emergency room-treated injuries. Cuts from ladders and pinches in the mechanisms of ladders were some of the non-fall injuries. Almost all victims who fell from 4 feet or higher were male.
Holiday Ladder Safety 101
Choose the correct-sized ladder
- Ensure the ladder you are using is correct for the intended use.
- Use a ladder that is the proper length to reach your intended height.
- The highest standing level on the stepladders is two steps down from the top.
- The highest standing level on a single extension ladder is below the third rung from the top.
- Stay within the “working load” on the ladder. The “working load” should include any decorations or tools you use on the ladder.
Inspect Your Ladder
- Check to make sure the ladder is still in good condition and clean to avoid a slip hazard.
- Do not use a ladder that is bent or broken.
Safe Ladder Setup
- Ladders should always be placed on even surfaces
- Do not place ladders on another object or surface to make the ladder taller
- It is always best to have someone hold the ladder while operating.
- Place the ladder close to the object you are working on or trying to hang decorations on.
More Holiday Ladder Safety Tips:
- Take time to set up your ladder and follow the steps above.
- Make sure you wear proper footwear that is clean to avoid slipping.
- Stay in the center of the ladder
- Move the ladder when needed to avoid reaching
- Remove trip hazards around the ladder (extension cords, garland, etc.)
Falls, unfortunately, can happen even with proper holiday safety and preparation. If you injure yourself this holiday season, calmly assess the situation, get up slowly and call for assistance. If you find yourself living with pain this holiday season, make an appointment with one of our Orthopedic specialists today to get you on the road to recovery.