Thanksgiving is over and many families are getting ready to string Christmas lights for the season. Unfortunately, the activity comes with a risk of accident and injury. People landing in the emergency room as a result of holiday decorating accidents rose from 12,000 cases in 2009 to 15,000 cases in 2013 according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). This means that about 250 people per day are injured between the months of November and January while decorating. The most common accidents are cuts, falls and back strains. The most serious accidents are typically a fall of six to 10 feet from roofs or ladders; the resulting injuries can be in the form of broken necks, skull fractures, brain damage or even death. The major issue is that ladders typically extend six feet tall but most roofs are eight to 10 feet high. Most ladder accidents happen when a person starts the decent back onto the ladder from the roof as they try to bridge the two to four foot gap between the roof line and the top of the ladder. Secondly, many home ladders are designed to fold so even a small nudge can cause a collapse.
Decrease your risk of a Christmas Light Ladder Accident
Those wishing to decorate their house with Christmas lights should be realistic about their abilities to use a ladder or navigate the roof safely. Senior citizens may not have the same balance or dexterity that they once had and are particularly vulnerable to broken bones in a fall. Even among younger decorators, the risk of fall and injury is real. As a result, it is often wise to hire an experienced handyman to handle your Christmas lights. Alternatively, keeping lights and other holiday decorations closer to the ground on porches, handrails or shrubs is a way to decrease the risk of Christmas light ladder accidents.
Christmas Light Ladder Safety from the CPSC:
- Choose the right ladder for the job.
- A step ladder is meant for washing windows and other jobs at low or medium heights. An extension ladder may be needed to hang lights high up on your roof line.
- Double check the ladder’s maximum load rating to make sure it is capable of handling both your weight and the load of Christmas lights that you are carrying.
- Before use inspect the ladder for loose screws, hinges or rungs. Clean off accumulated mud, dirt or liquids.
- Before you climb a ladder, make sure all ladder locks and safety braces are in place.
- Step in the center of each ladder rung as you ascend and descend to prevent the ladder from leaning to one side.
- Never place a ladder on ground or flooring that is uneven, soft or wet; choose a firm surface.
- When working on a ladder, do not lean so far that your bellybutton has gone beyond the edge of the ladder. Climb down the ladder and reposition it closer to your work area if necessary.
- Never climb a ladder without a spotter. Have them stand at the bottom of the ladder to hold in place and prevent tipping.
- Never sit or stand on the top of a step ladder or pail shelf as these areas weren’t designed to hold heavy weights.
If you or a loved one is dealing with an accident or injury, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the justice and compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!