When hanging Christmas lights to the exterior of your home, chances are you will be using a ladder. Ladder safety becomes an important issue because ladder falls are the most common holiday injury. As a roofing company, we are climbing ladders daily and can certainly offer some safety tips to keep you safe as you hang your holiday lights.
Never use a step ladder to get on your roof! It just isn’t very safe to climb past the upper rungs of a step ladder. There is a reason why roofers call step ladders “widowmakers.” The center of gravity is simply too high once you climb to the top of a step ladder. This high center of gravity will cause the ladder to tip over.
An extension ladder is the way to go. Take the extension ladder and extend it about three feet above the gutter line. This will give you enough room to transition from the ladder to the roof. The most important thing is to tie off the ladder to the gutter. A rubber bungee cord works well. This important measure will keep the ladder from slipping each time you use it.
Don’t lean too far when hang your lights from the ladder. Most ladder accidents happen when the ladder slips. Leaning too far one way or the other will cause the ladder to slip. Remember to tie off the ladder every time. Don’t step on any ladder rungs that are above the gutter line either.
While you have a ladder up to the roof, go ahead and do a quick inspection of your roof and gutters. Are you missing any shingles? Are there any exposed areas of the roof? Is the flashing around your skylight, chimney and attic vents intact? Is there anything blocking the roof vents? Are your gutters clear of debris? If you see anything that doesn’t look right, give us a call. We will inspect your roof for free.
When it comes to working safely on a ladder, common sense will prevent most accidents. Use a good extension ladder, tie it off every time and don’t lean too far when hanging your lights. Stick to these guidelines and make sure you spend the holidays at home instead of the hospital.