Review ladder safety before DIY projects

According to the journal Industrial Safety & Hygiene News, 97% of approximately half a million annual ladder falls occur at home or on a farm. Although few of these incidents are fatal, many people experience significant injury and long-term disability. 

Understand best practices for ladder safety before ascending a ladder at home or work. 

Check your ladder

Never use a damaged ladder, no matter how minor the issue appears to be. Look for cracked or missing rungs, missing hardware, loose parts, and other signs of wear and tear. If you see dirt or other debris on the ladder, wipe it clean and dry completely before using it. 

Check the rating on a new ladder to make sure it can safely hold your weight. Choose the right ladder for the job by measuring the height you need. To reach 10 feet off the ground, you need a 12-foot ladder since you should not stand on the top step. Follow all safety instructions on the ladder label. 

Check your health

You should also consider your own health before climbing a ladder. Stay on the ground if you feel dizzy, exhausted, fatigued or ill. 

Check the weather

Avoid using a ladder to work outside in the rain, heat, high wind or other inclement conditions. Reschedule your project for a clear, calm day. If an unexpected storm arises after you climb a ladder, get down immediately. 

Check the environment

Only use your ladder on a stable, level floor or ground surface. Do not place the ladder on a box, step or anything else to increase the available height. 

Close and lock nearby doors so an entering person will not accidentally jostle the ladder. Clear clutter from the floor around the base of the ladder. 

Sometimes, a ladder injury occurs because the ladder itself fails to work correctly. In this case, you may have a product liability claim to cover your medical bills, lost wages and other costs associated with the fall.