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Product safety tips

Ladders

Across the United States people are climbing ladders to wash the exterior of their homes, examine gutters, paint walls or make repairs. Unfortunately, people all over the country also are falling from ladders and sustaining serious injuries.

  • The first step to using any ladder safely is to carefully read the manufacturer's instructions. They will contain guidelines that help you use ladders more safely and effectively and also advise you about the weight and height limits of the ladder.
  • Choose the proper ladder for the intended task. For example, if the ladder will be used near electrical sources, use a wooden or fiberglass ladder to reduce the possibility of electrical shock.
  • Inspect the ladder before stepping on the first rung. Make sure the ladder has been well maintained, that the rungs are clean and all parts are intact. Never climb on a slippery or shaky ladder.
  • Setting up the ladder correctly may help prevent falls. When planting the base of any ladder, place all feet on a firm, level surface not on rocks or boards. Spreaders, the devices that hold the front and back sections of a stepladder in an open position, should be completely open and locked before any weight is placed on the ladder.
  • Do not place the ladder at too extreme of an angle when using an extension ladder.
  • Look for the familiar UL Listing Mark before purchasing a ladder. The UL Listing Mark on a product means that representative samples of that product have been tested to nationally recognized safety standards with regard to safety hazards.
  • Use a ladder that is tall enough for the job at hand. A great number of ladder accidents are the result of using a ladder that is too short.
  • Do not carry equipment while climbing a ladder. Wear a tool belt or have someone hand the equipment to you.
  • Face the ladder when climbing up and down; keep your body centered between both side rails.
  • Do not overextend your reach while up on the ladder. Make sure you keep your weight evenly distributed.
  • Never move a ladder while standing on it. Make sure people and equipment are off it before moving or closing the ladder.
  • Never stand on a ladder's bucket shelf. Read and follow the warning stickers for the ladder's highest standing levels.