ST. GEORGE — With the holiday season in full swing, many are pulling their decorations out from the basement or attic, hanging lights on the roof and trimming their tree.
Many of these activities can require the use of a ladder, but if not used safely, it could result in a trip to the emergency room or even serious injury or death.
“Falls are a leading cause of death and nearly half of those deadly falls have been from ladders,” said Patrick Thompson, physician assistant at Cedar City Hospital’s emergency room.
“But these deaths are preventable. Falls from ladders can be prevented and lives can be saved if you use make sure to take the time and caution to use a ladder safely.”
Safety rules when using a ladder:
- Before using the ladder, check it carefully to ensure there are no visible defects and that it is in good working condition.
- Use the right ladder for the job. For example, ensure the ladder is high enough to reach the work area without having to stand on the top rung or step.
- When using ladders to access another level, secure and extend the ladder at least three feet above the landing point to provide a safe handhold.
- The base of the ladder should be strong and secure.
- Wear proper footwear that is non-slip and flat-soled.
- Place the ladder on stable and level ground. Do not place it on an uneven ground.
- Ensure that the ladder is fully extended before beginning work.
- Keep passersby from walking under or near ladders by using barriers, like cones, or having someone act as a lookout.
- Maintain three points of contact with the ladder at all times.
- Do not carry any tools or materials while climbing a ladder.
- Do not use ladders near doorways, or make sure the door is locked before using the ladder.
- Do not use a ladder if its faulty, wobbly, bent, broken or weak, and do not use a ladder if it is missing a step or if the spreader bars do not lock in place.
“We see far too many injuries regarding ladders in our emergency room,” Lali Hall, Cedar City Hospital trauma coordinator, said. “And these injuries did not have to happen. It does take a little time and effort to follow those safety rules, but using those safety rules regarding ladders is a must to keep you and your loved ones safe, so you can have a wonderful and enjoyable holiday season.”