Dad Knows Ladder Safety

man on ladder near home

My dad is a natural-born handyman. After he married my mom, they decided to build their house together. Not only did they build the house almost all on their own and with the help of family, my dad also designed the floor plan. He knew that he wanted to have a cathedral ceiling and wide open living spaces. Most homes being built in the 1970’s did not have these popular modernized features, so he was quite the innovator. He created a split-foyer design and wanted the exterior finish to be stucco like many Mediterranean home plans have. This really made our house stand out against the more common brick and siding two-story homes on our street.

It took my parents four years to build their dream home. My brother was four years old and I was just a few months old when they finally moved in. I joke with my dad often that it is a miracle the place hasn’t collapsed yet. In fact, the home is incredibly sturdy and my dad keeps adding new additions every season. Two summers ago was the new retaining wall and last spring was an enchanting pergola that added plenty of style to their outdoor living area.

We were chatting one day about home construction, so I asked my dad, “What is the most dangerous part of building?” I was thinking he would reply with the electrical installation, but surprisingly he replied, “Well, I found that you have to be the most careful on a ladder.” He continued on to say that there are so many injuries and even deaths that occur from the misuse of a ladder. I have to admit that I was shocked at this information. You would think that safely using a ladder would be second nature for most people.

“As you use it more,” he replied, “you start to feel more comfortable and take more risks. Some people make silly mistakes because they get in a hurry. I knew a guy who was rushing and tried to move the ladder while he was still on it. He ended up tipping it over and busted his arm up. Also, always climb the ladder facing it because this gives you something to hang on to when climbing it. Another silly mistake that people make is placing the ladder in front of a door. When someone comes through the door, they get a ladder and a person landing on their head, so be sure to block off the door beforehand.”

My dad continued on elaborating, as he usually does, and started in on his ladder safety tips. “Always make sure you know how to use it correctly because every ladder is different. Be sure to inspect a ladder for damages. The rungs should be secure and the ladder should appear clean and sturdy. Using the correct size ladder for the job is also important. You don’t want to use a small stepladder for something up high. Similarly, A ladder that is too tall will get in the way when doing the job. Some ladders, like extension ladders, need to be safely secured and completely locked into position before climbing. Make sure the base of the ladder is on a solid, even surface before climbing. There are weight limits for some ladders. And very important, NEVER use a metal ladder when working on electrical lines.”

About a half an hour later, he concluded, “So make sure you are extra careful when you use a ladder. In fact, just give me a call if you need to get on a ladder and I will come over and help. Or I will probably do it for you. I don’t want to risk your safety when I can do it faster and better anyway.” Now, that’s my good, ‘ole dad.’

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