Q&A / 

Ladder Safety Tip


After reading last week's tip, I got this sobering email from David Wick who's recovering from injuries in Molalla, OR:

"I was on an old aluminum 6-foot ladder on a flat sidewalk by our front door. The task was to clean out the gutter screen we have. I climbed up and was at the top (usable) step and the ladder buckled. The next thing I know I was on top of the crumpled metal, with one broken rib and a slight puncture of my lung.

I ended up being flown by helicopter to the ER. I am home recovering now, but I would like you to stress to your other newsletter subscribers to really consider throwing out the old ladders and getting a new one.

I should have tossed that one a year or two ago. I also now want a spotter when I use one because my wife was home, but upstairs, and I had to pick myself up and get inside which was hard to do after a fall. When on the ladder, I didn't reach out and change the center of gravity of the ladder. It just buckled. It's amazing how hard you hit when you only fall 5 feet."

David, that's a great tip and by all means get better soon! Thanks for sharing. On a personal note, I inherited a similar 8-foot aluminum ladder from my father-in-law years ago.

The spreader arms had a horrible habit of bending. I never fell, but it was a very dangerous ladder. I ended up taking it to the recycle center cut in pieces so no one else could be hurt by it.


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