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Did you know that ladders are a major cause of injury both on and off the job? When you consider the physical danger involved with climbing high off the ground to perform various maintenance tasks, such as gutter cleaning, it’s inevitable that injuries will happen. In fact, those injuries resulted in more than two million emergency room visits in a 15-year period from 1990 to 2005, according to research conducted by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Even more alarming for seniors, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that persons 65 and older account for half of all ladder deaths.

How do you prevent the serious injuries – and even death – related to ladder falls? Follow these safety tips, courtesy of Gutter Helmet®.

  • Be aware. Before cleaning your gutters, inspect the area around your home. Is the ground too wet or too unstable to place a ladder? Is your gutter system too high or too complex for you to comfortably reach it? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, wait and hire a professional to do the job.
  • Use the right ladder. Ensure the ladder you use is long enough to reach past your gutters; a ladder that is too short could cause you to overreach and lose your balance, leading to injury. Take care to keep three points of contact with the ladder at all times, such as two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand.
  • Dress appropriately. Wear closed-toe, non-slip shoes and avoid loose clothing that could become tangled in the ladder. Gloves are an important protection against cuts and scrapes on sharp metal or debris, and safety glasses will protect your eyes from gutter splatters.
  • Look up for electrical wires. Before climbing a ladder, look for suspended electrical wires that could come in contact with the ladder. Stay at least 10 feet away from wires to avoid potential electrical shock.
  • Move cautiously. Climb and descend a ladder carefully and slowly, holding side rails with both hands. Avoid climbing too quickly, which could cause dizziness that may lead to instability and a fall.

Eliminate the risks associated with cleaning gutters by installing Gutter Helmet® gutter protection on your home this fall. For more information about metal gutter covers from a dealer in your area, call (800) 824-3772.