When cleaning the gutters this spring or working on the roof in the summer, it is necessary to be safe. Accident prevention is simple. Ways to avoid personal injury and potential harm to others include using a ladder safely, wearing protective gear, and having a helper.
Use a Ladder Safely
Ladder safety starts with the ladder itself. Use an extension ladder if your house is more than one story. Ensure that it works properly, is not damaged in any way, and the rungs are not warped (wood ladder) or rusted (metal ladder).
Set up the ladder on stable ground. If you have aluminum gutters, use a ladder stabilizer to avoid denting gutter sections.
When using the ladder, never stand on the top rung; maintain 3-point contact; and don’t stand on your toes. Move the ladder to a new position instead of overreaching.
Wear Protective Gear
It’s not like you’re sawing wood or drilling holes in metal panels. But you should still wear protective gear to keep bits of debris from getting into your eyes. Work gloves will protect your hands from cuts, germs, and unexpected encounters with nesting pests.
Wear Proper Shoes
If you regularly clean the gutters or are up on the roof to clean and/or inspect it, invest in a sturdy pair of work boots. Any type of closed toe shoe with rubber or non-slip soles is also a good choice.
Have a Helper
When you are on the ladder it is always advisable to use a spotter – a person standing at the base of the ladder and holding it with both hands. Should you drop something, need an extra pair of hands to re-position the ladder, or require a different tool or a new garbage bag, having a helper nearby is a great accident prevention strategy.
Be Prepared for Anything
Schedule a time for when you will be cleaning the gutters. Let everyone in your household know. Plan to keep pets and young children out of the yard when you’re on the ladder.
Advise anyone inside the house to keep windows and doors closed.
Turn the power off to any outdoor outlets. When the power can’t be turned off, cover the outlets.
Gather everything you’ll need for your home maintenance chore. Plan to use a bucket or garbage bags instead of just throwing the debris on the ground – it will reduce the risk of it landing on you, your helper, a family member or your car.