Think Safety When Installing or Removing Holiday Decorations
You know the Christmas season is upon us when it gets dark out side before 5 PM and yet the nighttime is still lit up with plenty of Christmas lights. While the lights are beautiful they usually require a ladder for their installation. Unfortunately, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) the number of people who are treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to installing holiday decorations is that an eight-year high and on the rise. Please think safety first when using a ladder to hang or take down your holiday decorations. Here are the CPSC's ladder safety tips.
- Always select the correct ladder for the job. That's one that extends at least 3 feet over the roofline or working surface.
- Always place your ladder on level and firm ground. Use leg levelers under the ladder to level uneven or soft ground. Leg levelers are devices that you can buy at a hardware or home improvement store.
- Make sure the ladder can support both your weight and the load you are putting on it by checking the ladder's maximum load rating.
- Make sure your straight and adjustable ladders have both slip-resistant feet.
- Set up straight, single or extension ladders at about a 75–degree angle. To test if you have the correct angle, stand up straight with your toes touching the feet of the ladder as it leans away from you. Extend your arms in front of you. Your palms should touch the top of the rung that's at shoulder level.
- Don't use a metal ladder near power lines or electrical equipment. Stick with wood or fiberglass ladders in these situations and use extra caution. And no ladder should ever touch a live electric wire.
- Check all rung locks and spreader braces on your ladder to make sure they are set.
- Have a helper hold the bottom of the ladder.
- Keep ladders away from a door that can be opened.
- Only allow one person on a ladder at a time.
- Center your body between the rails of the ladder at all times. Leaning too far to one side while working is a no-no and can cause you to fall. If you were to have a belt on, the buckle should never be outside of the right or left rail of the ladder.
- Do not stand on the top three rungs of a straight, single or extension ladder.
- Stay off of the ladder's top step and bucket shelf. Labels on ladders warn you not to stand on them as well. Don't try to climb or stand on the rear section of a stepladder.
- Only use a ladder for its intended purpose. And follow the ladder's instruction labels.
- When you're done with the ladder, put it away immediately. Never leave a raised ladder unattended.