Almost every homeowner owns a ladder, even if it is just a small stepladder. They are needed for basic home maintenance, like cleaning gutters, cutting tree branches, and refilling bird feeders. Ladders are used by millions of Americans, usually as an afterthought. Who could think these simple contraptions could be so dangerous?
As it turns out, those simple contraptions are responsible for thousands of insurance claims around the country. People who own their own construction companies can tell you first-hand a ladder is anything but a toy, and it requires employing some basic safety tips to keep everyone on the crew safe.
You do not have to own a team of home remodelers to worry about ladder liability, either. Even if a neighbor is helping you paint your house and gets injured while using your ladder, you could wind up in court.
The first step required before using a ladder is to inspect it, even if you have used it dozens of times. In 2010, more than 160,000 people were admitted to an emergency room due to ladder-related injuries. Here are some other safety tips to help minimize the risk of a ladder injury:
Stepladders are excellent for a variety of home uses, and 4′ and 6′ ladders are the most common. If your home has many vaulted ceilings, you will likely need a slightly larger ladder, though. The idea is your feet should be 2′ from the top rung for complete safety. Never use the step labeled “This is not a step!”
If you carry large ladders outdoors vertically instead of horizontally, you reduce the chance of pulling muscles in your back when getting the device into position. Take special care maneuvering outside. Hitting the top of your garage door or a tree branch is jarring and can tear muscles, and hitting power lines can be fatal, even with wooden or fiberglass ladders.
If you live in a rural area, do a lot of outdoor work, or your ladder is needed for a construction business, consider buying an extension ladder with spikes or locks for the feet to keep them stable. These dig into the ground to prevent movement. Keep the center of your body within the center of the ladder. If your belt buckle is no longer between the two ladder legs, you are stretching too far from your center of gravity and risk falling.
For complete legal coverage in a ladder accident, contact Sweeney Merrigan Law. We specialize in handling personal injury cases.