Unexpectedly Intriguing!
November 8, 2006

Every now and again, we here at Political Calculations are inspired to provide a public service to the community at large. Well, maybe not "inspired" so much as "court-ordered", so with that in mind, we present the following safety tips provided by the Home Safety Council on how you can avoid accidents with ladders.

Why our interest in ladder safety? Well, frankly, the ladder is a device where the intersection between common people and common sense becomes truly disconnected, as the portions we've emphasized below make clear:

  • Before using a ladder outdoors, choose a location that is well away from all power lines. Coming in contact with live wires can be fatal.
  • Place the ladder on level ground and open it completely, making sure all locks are engaged.
  • Use the 4-to-1 rule for extension ladders: for each 4 feet of distance between the ground and the upper point of contact (such as the wall or roof), move the base of the ladder out 1 foot.
  • Always face the ladder when climbing and wear slip-resistant shoes, such as those with rubber soles.
  • Keep your body centered on the ladder and gauge your safety by your belt buckle. If your buckle passes beyond the ladder rail, you are overreaching and at risk for falling.
  • Make sure rungs are dry before using the ladder.
  • Stand at or below the highest safe standing level on a ladder. For a stepladder, the safe standing level is the second rung from the top, and for an extension ladder, it's the fourth rung from the top.

On that last point, one wonders why ladder manufacturers don't just make ladders with only the rungs you can stand upon, but that's neither here nor there, as we have two final ladder safety points to make. Both points should be considered common sense, but sadly, are not. The first relates to the picture at the top of this post, and the moral of the story presented in this picture is simply: Never, never, ever put your metal ladder in your pool as a platform for doing any sort of industrial work requiring electrical equipment.

The second is more obscure, and far less likely to happen than our first point, but should be common sense all the same. Never, never, ever get into a ladder fight with Jackie Chan:

You need to see the whole thing to truly appreciate this point - we highly recommend viewing "Jackie Chan's First Strike" primarily for its ladder safety educational aspects....

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