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How to Use a Ladder (and Not Break Your Face)

Summer is a time for DIY, overdue chores and long-awaited home projects, and some of those missions may require using a ladder – a daunting prospect for anyone who’s a) afraid of heights, b) clumsy or c) a lethal combination of both. So, how do we overcome our fears and foibles so that we may clean the gutters and paint the trim? Try these <a title="Ladders" href="http://www.atgstores.com/ladders-scaffolding_2072.html" target="_blank">ladder</a> tricks and you’ll be reaching for the stars in no time. <strong>1. Use a Good Ladder</strong> It may sound like a sales pitch, but it also happens to be the truth. Old, rickety and unstable ladders are dangerous. The very first thing you can do to avoid a ladder injury is to avoid using one that doesn’t measure up to your standards of quality. <strong>2. Practice</strong> This probably sounds silly, but we’re starting at square (step?) one here. See, the thing is, you’re not scared of heights – <em>you’re scared of falling</em>. Grab your ladder and try it out. Go up a few rungs and come back down. Prove to yourself that it’s safe and you’ll feel more confident about using it as you go. <strong>3. Read the Instructions</strong> These are usually printed on the ladder. They should tell you the basic functions and give you an idea of what to expect while you’re on the rungs. <strong>4. Plan, and Use Your Hands  </strong> Ladders are safe, but math dictates that the odds of you falling increase with the number of times you go up and down them. So, if what you’re doing requires tools or supplies make sure they are where they need to be so you don’t have to keep climbing up and down. This is easy, even if your ladder doesn’t have a platform. You could use a tool belt for tools, for example, and use the top “step” to hold things while you climb. Now, about that top step … <strong>5.  Never Use the Top Step</strong> The top step is not a step; it’s just how a ladder has to end. Imagine trying to balance one pencil on top of another, eraser to eraser – that’s the situation you’re creating when you get up on that top step. <strong>6. Don’t Tie Yourself to Anything</strong> This is about as dangerous as it sounds, but people still do it. Some people will even <em>tie themselves to the ladder</em>, which makes zero sense. Just hold on, step carefully and everything will be fine. <strong>7. Getting On, Off</strong> Now, if you’re using a ladder to get onto a roof – remember these three things: - Be sure your ladder extends at least three feet beyond the edge of the roof. - Use your hands; don’t let go until you have a firm footing (on the ground or the roof). - Never descend with your back to the roof on your heels. Follow these easy tips and you’ll have no trouble reaching those high spots with your ladder this summer.
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