Millions of Americans every year decorate their homes for the Christmas holiday. Some outsource and pay companies to do it, while others enjoy doing it themselves. Who doesn’t enjoy showing off their beautifully decorated home and receiving compliments from passerbys. However, while getting caught up in the Christmas spirit isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can become dangerous when you’re not thinking about your safety.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that emergency rooms treat around 14,700 decorating injuries during the holiday season—an average of 240 injuries per day. Most holiday home decorating incidents involved:
- Falls (41%)
- Lacerations (10%)
- Back strains (5%)
Unfortunately, an injury is the least of your problems in this scenario. While there hasn’t been many, there have been a few deaths reported as well.
This couldn’t be any simpler. Having someone to assist you in decorating the outside of your home can reduce your risk of accidents. The other person can hold your ladder while you’re climbing and make you aware of any potential hazards they may notice. Of course, if something were to happen, you have someone there who can call for help immediately.
Watch your set up
As a general rule, ladders should never be placed in front of an opening door. Also, you should always set your ladder on a solid foundation, preferably not in the grass. Setting up a ladder on an unstable surface, or on top of an object to gain a little height, is ALWAYS a bad idea that should be avoided at all costs.
Don’t decorate in bad conditions
Planning to decorate the outside of your home while there’s a snowstorm or rain is a bad idea. This can lead to a number of injuries and unforeseen accidents. The last thing you need is a slippery ladder thanks to rain, or getting knocked off balance by high winds. Plan accordingly.
Watch your step (literally)
Be very attentive when stepping up your ladder. You can do so by:
- Using slip-resistant footwear
- Avoid pulling, leaning or making any other sudden movements on the ladder
- Keep yourself centered at all times
- Utilize the “3-point contact” rule when using a leader. This means two hands and one foot, or 2 feet and 1 hand should always be in contact with the ladder.
Avoid being under the influence
It’s not unreasonable to expect some individuals to be under the influence when decorating the outside of their home. It’s the holiday season and you may drink a small cup of eggnog or wine. That’s fine and all, but make sure you’re not engaging in those activities before you begin decorating the outside of your house. Alcohol and ladders are a bad combination.
Utilize an appropriate ladder
Utilizing the right ladder is just as important. A good rule is to ensure the ladder is able to extend beyond your roofline, approximately 3 feet above. Of course, the ladder should also be able to hold your weight. If you have a single, extension, or straight ladder, it should be propped up at a 75-degree angle for the best results.
We care about the safety of our readers and will continue to write about best practices when doing anything potentially dangerous. Make sure to check out our recent blog on Christmas decoration safety, since that goes hand in hand with ladder safety while decorating.