Ladder Safety Tips for Painting and Decorating
Across the nation, accidents involving ladders are some of the most common causes of injuries, and that is no less true here in the Washington, D.C. area. As professional house painters, we practically live on ladders, so safety is one of our prime concerns. In the interest of being good neighbors, we thought we would share some ladder safety tips with you!
Get the Right Ladder for the Job
One of the most important aspects of ladder safety it is selecting the appropriate ladder for the task at hand. Many preventable accidents occur each year because homeowners tried to do a task with a ladder that was not suited to the job. The main thing to check for is that the ladder is tall enough. Can it get you to the proper height without standing on the top rung or stretching precariously? Also, does it provide the stability you need for the type of job you're doing? An extension ladder gives more height, but a step ladder has four legs on the ground.
Heed the Safety and Warning Labels
How often do we ignore warning labels and hazard information? It seems like a everything comes with a warning to use safety goggles or consult a physician a prior to use! However, ladders are not the place for ignoring warnings. If it says, "Not a step" or "Keep clear of electric lines," pay attention!
Make Sure the Ladder Is Properly Set Up
If you are using a step ladder for house painting, make sure it is fully unfolded and the horizontal supports are firmly locked. Also check that all four feet are securely planted on the ground.
With extension ladders, it is vital to check that the rung locks are properly hooked, or the upper portion of the ladder could slide back down without warning. Also check that the upper end of the rails is not resting against anything fragile, like a gutter or a window.
Watch Your Toes!
...the toes of the ladder, that is. Are the feet of the ladder resting on anything that could slide, move or wobble? Once you have a ladder in place, give it a little bump to see what happens. If the feet move or the ladder shows any signs of instability, see what you can do to improve its position.
Using an extension ladder for exterior painting can be a challenge because of uneven terrain. If you cannot create a flat, stable surface for the ladder to rest on, don't try it! One solution is to purchase a ladder leveler set, which attaches to the feet of your ladder. This can allow you to make one leg longer than the other to achieve a safe balance.
Wear Your Mitts!
Extension ladders are generally made of aluminum, which has sharp edges and can easily damage siding and other surfaces. Make sure the upper end of your rails is properly encased in a protective cover. Professional painters often use standoffs, which hold the upper end of the ladder away from the side of the house. This helps to protect the siding, and it can also improve your working position.
When in Doubt, Watch Out!
If you are not certain that you can complete your project safely, you're better off hiring a professional. As we mentioned earlier, we are on ladders all the time. As house painters, we have a wide range of climbing and safety equipment, and we make sure that it is all properly maintained. We also provide regular safety training for all our professional painting staff, so our clients can be assured of an incident-free painting project.
Williams Professional Painting is based in Alexandria, Virginia. We serve residential and commercial clients around Northern Virginia and the Washington, DC region. If you have any questions about house painting or ladder safety, don't hesitate to contact us!