If you plan to clean the gutters, chances are you will most likely be using a ladder. While it might not seem like a very dangerous undertaking, ladder accidents are more common than you might expect. And a small percentage of those total accidents, both residential and work-related are fatal. When spring gutter cleaning, be aware of the reasons people fall off ladders and take the necessary precautions.
They’re not open-toed and they’re comfortable, so they should be fine for when you’re using the ladder for cleaning the gutters and other kinds of yard work. But if the soles are worn, aren’t non-slip, or are flat, then climbing a ladder could be an accident waiting to happen. Shoes safe enough to be on ladders should have treads, are non-slip, and have a minimum half-inch heel.
Wrong Type of Ladder
Using the wrong type of ladder is another big reason people fall. When choosing a ladder for home maintenance chores, keep the following in mind:
- weight capacity
- height – e.g. too short for a two-story home
- material – metal is preferable since it won’t warp
- hand-me-down – a ladder of indeterminate age is more likely to be unsafe
When using a ladder, the middle of the foot should be placed on the rung – not the toes or the heel. Proper foot placement helps you get a firm foothold, reducing the risk of tilting or slipping.
A person can fall off of a ladder if it’s not securely placed. Ensure that the ground beneath the ladder is even, dry, and compact. When placed on gravel, mud, or a damp surface, the ladder can become unstable when the person using it begins to clean the gutters.
Not Moving the Ladder
Another common reason for falling off ladders is not repositioning the ladder. Overreaching throws you off balance and can have serious consequences. Yes, it’s annoying to have to move the ladder in order to clean the next gutter section. But a little inconvenience is better than a hospital visit.
Never climb a ladder when holding an object, no matter how small. Always have one hand-both feet or two hands-one foot on the ladder when climbing up or down. When working on the ladder, keep hands clutter-free as possible – use ladder shelves and utility hooks so that you have a place to put things.