Safe storage habits should be practiced by everyone.
If you are using a ladder or storing items overhead there are precautions and steps you can take to complete your task safely. Please take these suggestions into consideration before using a ladder or storing objects overhead.
- When packing a box to be stored overhead make sure it is not too heavy as it will be awkward to remove from its storage place when you want it later.
- Clearly label all boxes in large letters so you don’t have to go up and down ladders searching through multiple boxes to find what you are looking for, you should be able to read what’s inside from the ground.
- Never place loose items on top of a box that is stored overhead, they are hard to see when removing boxes from storage and may fall off and hit you or fall to the ground and break.
- Choose the right ladder for the job. A step-ladder may be all that you need for some jobs but depending upon location and height or weight restrictions you may need to choose an Extension or A-frame ladder.
- Always check your ladder for flaws before climbing. Loose or broken parts could cause a fall.
- Is the surface flat and clean below the ladder? Debris and other objects can make a ladder unstable.
- Check that your ladder is in the locked position. A-frame ladders need their spreader supports to be extended flat into their locked positions and Extension ladders need their vertical adjusters locked into place.
- Make sure the angle of your extension ladder is not too steep so you don’t fall backwards from the top of the ladder. A good rule is to put the ladder 1 foot away from the wall for every 4 feet that you will climb.
- If you must put a ladder in front of a door make sure it is locked or blocked so it can’t be opened.
- Make sure there is enough space above to maneuver boxes and prepare them to be brought down.
- If there is anyone below the ladder, make sure they are clear of anything that may fall.
- When placing items in overhead storage it is a good ladder habit to have another person to spot you. You never know when you may need an extra pair of hands or eyes.
- Do not carry anything up a ladder that you can not carry in one hand, leaving the other hand to climb and stabilize. Always face the ladder when climbing up or down.
- Removing stored items while on a ladder can get awkward, the reaching, the leaning and the lifting. Always keep your waist between the side rails of your ladder for a good center of gravity when reaching for items with your one open hand.
- If you are having trouble reaching something do not over extend yourself. You will save more time by going down and repositioning the ladder than would if you fell and broke a bone or worse.
- Never stand on the top rung of any ladder or on the utility tray.
- Always read the instructions and weight capacities of each new ladder you purchase or receive. Each ladder is different and has its own specifications.
Always use common sense when storing objects overhead and when using a ladder. More than 160,000 people are treated in U.S. emergency rooms each year due to injuries directly related to improper ladder habits.
Be sure to follow our blog series for more storage safety tips.