Homeowners’ Ladder Safety Tips – Gutter Cleaning

October 22, 2013 0 Comment(s) Ladders, Safety Working at Height,
We have noticed a few people around us up on their ladders doing a bit of maintenance around the home in preparation for the Autumn and Winter seasons and one of those jobs is clearing the gutters and getting them ready for the leaves that fall over the colder months. A close up view of some autumnal leaves with dew on them. Once the leaves and other muck is cleaned out of the gutter, a wire mesh cap over the drainage pipes from the guttering can stop leaves and other debris clogging up the drainpipes.  However, to access the gutters you will need to use a ladder safely!If you are not comfortable or experienced with using ladders, consider asking someone else to do the work at height for you.  The promise of tea and cake as a reward can go a long way in convincing someone!  If there is no one available to use the ladders for you, ensure that you have another person footing the ladder and watching out for potential hazards.Check the ladder over carefully before using it.  Look for obvious signs of damage, and ensure that the ladder is the right length for the job (the top rungs should overshoot the roof edge; you should not be stretching up to the guttering from the top of the ladder).  Read through our previous posts about ladder health and safety on the blog before you start.Although it may increase the total time spent on the job, make sure you move the ladder laterally frequently.  Over-reaching at the top of the ladder is one of the more common causes of ladder falls, as the stability of the ladder is compromised by the shifting weight at the top.  Only reach as far as is comfortable, then descend the ladder and move it along the guttering.  Always aim to keep your hips within the space designated by the ladder stiles; if you lean further than this then the risk of falling is much greater.For any job involving ladders, wear the appropriate clothing.  Footwear is very important; sturdy shoes or boots with a flat, grippy sole are the best.  For clearing guttering, wear protective gloves (thick gardening gloves are the best, as they will protect you from splinters and other sharp objects that may be hiding in the gutter).  Tuck laces in to stop them getting caught, especially on sectional ladders where there are locking mechanisms that the laces could get caught in.  Always wear relatively tight clothing, as garments that flap around in the wind or pose a snagging hazard could cause an accident.  One man A gloved hand is clearing a gutter of leaf debris.was very lucky in his choice of clothing, as his rugby shorts saved him from further injury when he fell from the step ladder he was using after the leg of the ladder snapped without warning.  The double seam of the hardy shorts stopped the sharp edge of the metal from cutting further and causing abdominal injuries.  This man was very lucky however, had he been wearing jeans or other tough trousers, he may not have suffered such severe cuts to his leg.The gunk that comes out of the gutter will be very slippery, so ensure this is disposed of properly.  A bucket attached to the top of the ladder provides somewhere to deposit this matter, but make sure none of this ends up on the ladder stiles or rungs.  This may mean taking your gloves off when ascending or descending the ladder, as slimy material on the ladder represents a serious problem for good grip.  Similarly, if you are throwing the gutter gunk down to the ground, make sure you aim it for ground where you have already been, to stop it from becoming a risk to the stability of the ladder on the floor. Also watch out for the person at the foot of the ladder, as no-one appreciates a face full of composted debris!If you follow these safety tips, clearing the gutters should be a simple task and over in no time, until next year! If your ladder is no longer safe to use and you need a new one come on over ot the main Midland Ladder Co webstore for the best quality access equipment at the keenest prices on the Net!  

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