ladder safety ladder safety
Nov 27 2019

Ladder Safety During the Holidays

We all know that ladders are a big part of our holiday traditions we use them for all things such as:

12 Lights of Changing

11 Hunters Hunting 

10 Point Bucks

9 Ornaments Hanging

8 Shingles Replacing 

7 Rungs a Leaping

6 Cats a Climbing

5 Garland Wreaths

4 Clean Gutters

3 Tree Trimmers

2 Chimney Sweepers

1 Star on top the Christmas tree

The holiday season, November 1st to January 31st, can bring with it an increased risk of injuries from falls, as people use ladders, stools and other furniture to hang lights, ornaments and other decorations. According to the CDC, about 5,800 people, two to three every hour, were treated in emergency departments for fall-related injuries sustained while decorating. Fractures were the most frequent holiday decorating-related injury (34%)

Who are these people and how in the world do they set themselves up for these accidents. I mean, you and I would surely set the base of a ladder on solid, non shifting ground at the most stable angle for climbing. Surely, we would climb with one hand always grounded on a rail for 3 points of contact. Surely, we would know better than to stand on the very top rung of the ladder. Surely, we would choose the right footwear designed not to slip from a rung and of course, by all means we would have the right ladder for the job and not be two feet shy of a job that required a taller ladder and just “go for it”. 

But apparently there are almost 6,000 people that reported such accidents and you know there are at least that many more, conservatively, that were too embarrassed to admit to or too stubborn to seek medical attention. 

Now let’s take a brief look at the medical impact of a reportable accident.

In the case of a broken bone that might require a pin or a plate, the financial impact of not being proactive, or safety conscious can run into the tens of thousands of dollars, which with a medical co-pay would run to about $5000 out of pocket for most coverages if not a little more. Now this does not include lost wages, the aggravation of your spouse having to deal with you under foot for the duration of the recovery and rehab period, not to mention that you will always be “that guy” for the entire family and community.

So to recap, in order to avoid an embarrassing and potential painful and costly Holiday Season mistakes, please remember these 12 tips for the 12 days of ladder safety:

  1. Avoid excessive reach beyond the ladder support base.
  2. Leave cleaning chimneys to the professionals
  3. Use reaching tools to avoid reaching beyond the ladder base
  4. Use the right ladder for the job and set it on a secure footing.
  5. Even the little jobs have their risk, so be sure and step down on every rung.
  6. Cats somehow know how to get down when they want to get down. 
  7. The right shoe to ensure non slip contact with the rung is a must.
  8. Leaving the ladder to get onto the roof is a tricky venture. Always keep a person on the ground to help with ladder stability or to dial 911.
  9. Tree trimming can be tricky when the base extends out and the top is an unsafe distance from the ladder base. Probably the most precarious in-home situation you can find yourself in with little to no warning.
  10. Ladder stands for the deer woods can easily be the most dangerous situation you can find yourself in. Deaths and life altering spinal injuries occur every year due to unsafe ladder management and practices. This guy you surely don’t want to be.
  11. Set and secure your stand prior to the hunting season if at all possible in order to get it set properly. Review your procedure for getting to the seat at the top of the ladder and practice with a buddy. 
  12. Christmas and the Holidays are a great time to enjoy lighting of the house, trimming of the trees and enjoying the out of doors. The kids will always remember these as the best of times. Do not mess this up for them……
Steve Joseph

Physical Therapist