Be Safe this season on a Ladder
Decorating is part of the fun of the holiday season, but people often do not consider the safety risks. A 2020 study by Value Penguin found that 20% of respondents were injured while putting up a Christmas tree; in a 2019 study, only 9% said they had suffered a Christmas tree-related injury.
“Fewer women (11%) than men (29%) have been injured by their trees. And younger generations were far more likely to be injured while putting up their trees. In fact, 27% of Gen Zers and 24% of millennials said they’ve been hurt by their trees, compared to just 5% of baby boomers."
According to Ladder Grips, 14,000 workers are injured every year by falling from ladders. The main reasons for ladder falls are overreaching and failing to secure the ladder properly. CSA Group found that from 1992 to 2018 there were 58,950 ladder-related injury reports in BC and Ontario alone. These are just the injuries that are reported at work, and it can be just as easy to be injured while using a ladder at home.
Christmas ladder safety
Ladder injuries are common but preventable and staying safe while putting up Christmas decorations is easy. A hospital visit is the last thing you want at Christmas, so follow these common-sense tips.
Use the right ladder
- Use a ladder that is tall enough to allow you to easily reach the area you are working on.
- Check the weight limit of your ladder and make sure it can support your weight and the weight of the tools and decorations you will be using. Household ladders can typically hold 200 lbs. You will need a commercial ladder for heavier loads.
Set up your ladder properly
- Follow the four to one rule – for every four feet of height, your ladder should be one foot away from the wall.
- If you will be climbing on the roof, the ladder needs to be three feet taller than the edge of the roof.
- When using a stepladder, make sure it is locked into place.
- Set up the ladder on stable, even ground and do not set up step ladders on top of other objects like countertops.
Be safe when climbing the ladder
- Face the ladder when climbing, stay in the center, and hold on with both hands.
- Have someone spot you.
- Do not stand on the top rung and do not overreach. Move the ladder or get a taller one if you cannot reach what you are doing.
Watch out for safety risks
- Make sure your shoelaces are tied and your shoes are not muddy.
- Do not wear clothing that can get caught in the ladder.
- Do not climb a ladder in windy conditions or other bad weather.
- Do not use a ladder if you are susceptible to fainting, have been drinking, or take medications that make you drowsy or dizzy.