Ladders are required equipment for any do-it-yourself project involving gutters and downspouts. Being cautious up there is extremely important for DIYers, especially since one wrong move can end with you in the hospital. Thankfully, these accidents are few and far between when you consider how many people use a ladder every day. However, there are a few things that you can do to reduce your chances of having a ladder accident, such as:
- Making sure your ladder is on steady ground
- Giving yourself a reasonable angle with the ladder placement
- Never stepping on the top step of the ladder
The Importance of Solid Ground
Basing a ladder in wet or shifting ground can be very dangerous, especially if you are going to be getting off the ladder and onto your roof. Always make sure to set your ladder up in an area that is relatively flat and dry. The ground should be even so that both legs can touch at the same point without the ladder leaning at all.
Setting your Ladder at a Reasonable Incline
Your ladder should not be sitting nearly vertical since a sudden shift of weight backwards can cause the entire thing (you included) to fall backwards. At the same time, you don’t want a very wide angle either because of the added strain that would be placed on the area where the ladder contacts the roof, and to prevent the base from slipping.
Staying Off the Top Step
The top step on most ladders is absolutely not to be used as a step, but rather as an optional flat area where you can place a tool or bucket. When you step on the very top step, the ladder can become extremely unstable. This can cause the ladder to fall out from under you, leading to serious injury. If you can’t get onto your roof without stepping on your ladder’s top step, you need to get your hands on a longer ladder. It’s extremely dangerous both going up, and coming back down since you would about have to guess where the top step is without seeing it.
A little bit of common sense can go a long way when it comes to ladder safety. If you think it might be unsafe, just don’t do it. To our knowledge, we are sharing sound information, but also review your ladder usage guide for the manufacturers’ safety recommendations.
For more advice, take a look at our ladder safety video.