Don’t rush when putting up lights, ladder safety comes first

Updated Dec 3, 2018
Be sure to move the ladder as needed to avoid overreaching and losing your balance. Photo: Frye Electric Inc.Be sure to move the ladder as needed to avoid overreaching and losing your balance.
Photo: Frye Electric Inc.

It’s that time of the year again; people who have procrastinated on putting up their Christmas lights have decided to call in the professionals.

If you offer Christmas lighting as one of your services, you and your crews are accustomed to scaling ladders, but it is important to keep ladder safety in mind.

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration reports that falls from ladders are a leading cause of occupational injuries and fatalities in the United States. Even falls from a height of 11 feet gives you only a 50 percent chance of survival, according to the National Safety Council.

Using the wrong ladder, a ladder in poor condition or a ladder improperly are the most common causes of falls and accidents involving ladders.

A ladder that is the proper height for the job will be tall enough that the user does not need to stand on the last three rungs and can bear the weight of both the user and the loads being carried up.

A ladder that was in good condition last time does not guarantee that it is still sound. Always inspect your ladder before climbing it for cracks, splits, dents, or any slippery substance that would interfere with ascending.

When climbing a ladder always follow the three-point rule by having three points of contact on the ladder at all times. Keep both hands and one foot or two feet and one hand on the ladder constantly. Do not try to carry objects in your hands. Instead, hoist materials and store tools on a tool belt.

It is also important to have a spotter just in case. The spotter needs to stand in front of the ladder with hands on the side rails and place one foot on the bottom rung of the ladder.

Even if your client is eager to have their lights up as soon as possible, always keep an eye on the weather to see if it will create unsafe conditions. Working in icy or windy conditions can put your safety at risk.

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