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TrustDale Tip of the Day: *How to Climb a Ladder Safely
|Setting up an extension ladder at the correct angle is the key to working safely on the walls or roof of your house. Make it too steep and the ladder could tip over backward. Give it too much angle and it could bend or the bottom could slide out. This article shows the right way to set up a ladder.|
- Set the ladder at the proper angle by creating a right triangle with your body.
- Make sure the feet of the ladder can't slip backward. On soft ground, flip up the ladder shoes so the spurs poke into the ground. On decks, screw down a cleat.
- Make sure the top of the ladder is resting on a flat surface and doesn't slide or wobble when you put weight against it.
- When climbing the ladder grab onto the rungs of the ladder using a hand over hand method never letting go of one rung before grabbing the next. Sliding your hands up the beam (side) of a ladder is unsafe because you may not have as secure a grasp as you would when using the rungs to climb with.
- Use add-on accessories to help stabilize the top of ladders. Rubber or soft plastic "mitts" that slip over the top of the ladder rails provide a good grip on the siding and protect it from ladder damage. Ladder stabilizers are another great add-on accessory. The large rubber pads grip almost any surface to keep the top from slipping sideways and help spread out the load to prevent damage to fragile siding materials like vinyl or aluminum. Stabilizers also span window openings and hold the ladder away from the building to allow work on gutters and overhangs.
- Level the feet. Note that even with the ladder at the correct angle, it can still tip sideways if the feet aren't level with each other and on solid ground. It's unsafe to stack boards under one of the feet to level the ladder. Instead, scrape out a shallow trench under the high-side foot. The claw of a hammer is perfect for this task.