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Extension Ladder Safety

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  • Extension Ladder Safety

    Yeah, I did it. I got the leasure of riding my extesion ladder down the inside wall of my garage. Was hanging a sign over the TV. It is tall, so I had to widen the angle on the ladder. Big F-up. When it went, it was almost in slow motion. And as much as I clawed at the air, the thing still kept sliding... faster and faster. The top of the ladder grabbed the TV on the way down (an older HEAVY CRT type). So, the ladder hit the ground, I hit the ladder, and the TV and all the other junk finished off the crash. The TV missed me by inches ( I knew it was coming so I got in the fetal position the lessen the blow. I laid there for a few minutes assessing the damage to me; fortunately I'll only be bruised up in the knees and hands tomorrow. However, the CRT exploded, and I had a big jar of carbon black that shattered. The carbon black bothered me worse than anything;it was the last run from the plant that I worked at for eight years. It's torn down now. All the CD's and peripheral stuff was pretty much smashed to bits.

    If there is any consolation, I am having a dinner party over here tonight, and I had to have a TV to watch the ball games... so I had to go out and buy a new Visio 42" LCD TV (that's the "after" picture, after the cleanup). Kind of seems wrong to do something so stupid and essentially get rewarded for it.

    Oh, and the altimeter and compass in the first picture survived as well. But nothing else.

    Here is the before:

    And here is the after:

    Bottom line is don't be a dumb ass like me. If it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. Have the wife or someone foot the ladder, and tie it off if you can. I was very lucky... this time.

  • #2
    This is the solution to that problem. It provides a tremendous increase in stability since the centre of gravity has to shift all the way past the ends of the bottom spreader before it will go over.

    Good you weren't badly hurt or even killed.

    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


    • #3
      I was hanging Christmas lights a few years back, and the ladder's feet slid out from under me.
      You're right... SLOW MOTION ... !!
      I too grabbed for air, fell, ladder hit the window (LUCKILY it didn't break), I landed on the ladder with a thud. OOOFFFFF!!!
      My pride was hurt more than anything else.


      • #4
        Evan, that type of base is to prevent side tip over accidents. From OP's description, it sounds like he had the base of the ladder too far from the wall because of limited ceiling clearance. The wide bases are a good idea, though.

        garagemark, glad you got of easy. CRTs, by the way, implode rather than explode. Still, effect is the same, glass goes everywhere. In a school shop, long ago, we used to put dead CRTs in a big trashcan and smash them with a hammer after breaking the seal and letting the air in slowly. One day, someone claimed he knew the proper proceedure; you guessed it, he didn't. Case of monkey see, monkey do - monkey doesn't notice the subtle safety precautions. Fortunately, no one was hurt.


        • #5
          Been there done that. broke my left knee cap when I landed on the edge of the aluminum ladder. All because I did not have anyone helping as in holding the ladder on a slick gym wood floor.
          And yes it seemed to happen in slow motion as it slid down the wall.


          • #6
            Ouch - glad you're OK.

            Nice sign, btw...


            • #7
              Was that carbon black plant just up the river from Marietta on the WVa side?


              • #8
                I'll second the "slow motion" thing. In my case I had time to decide whether to try to grab a convenient piece of wood framing or ride the ladder down. I decided to ride it out, and a split second later one of the ladder's feet was stopped by a vacuum cleaner hose that I had been too lazy to pick up.

                Moral of this story is NEVER clean ANYTHING off of your shop floor!

                PS. Nice Fridge.


                • #9
                  Hah! It was a beer sign. Figures.

                  Beer might be a refreshing beverage but as an institution, it's an impediment to all that's civilized. Everything pertaining to beer even the advertizing brings disruption, destruction, and buffoonery in its wake. Garagemark is normally a sensible guy, sane and careful in the way he manages his shop operations. Look at his shop in the photos, everything is neat and ordered.

                  So he hangs one beer sign and what happens: chaos. A sizable chunk of Mark's cultural heritage was damaged and/or ruined and he got banged up.

                  Goes to show, anything connected with beer poses a hazard. Even hanging a sign. So be warned beer drinkers, exercise extra vigilence when beer manifests itself in your doings. Disaster dogs your footsteps.


                  • #10
                    Goes to show, anything connected with beer poses a hazard. Even hanging a sign. So be warned beer drinkers, exercise extra vigilence when beer manifests itself in your doings. Disaster dogs your footsteps.
                    That's exactly why I've switched to Bourbon.


                    • #11
                      Ladders are dangerous.

                      I had one colapse once.

                      I never saw or felt it happen and I landed on my shoulder with a thud. It took months before I could lift my arm above my shoulder again. I'm fully recovered.

                      Years later, working on mom's house, I start to loose my balance, after that first time, I'm ready for a ladder to fail, I jump off backwards and land like a cat, not bad for a fat man. Knees were sore the next morning but the landing was a lot better this time.



                      • #12
                        When I painted my house i had to get about 18' up and had to put the base on decorative rock and grass. The thought made me really nervous so I took a 36" square pallet and covered the top with plywood then sawed two "U" shaped pokets for the feet of the ladder to sit in and secured them to the top in the middle of the pallet. Placed it and leveld pallet with shims as I moved around house. That felt so solid except for the height and the spring in the ladder.


                        • #13
                          You need one of these Multipurpose ladders


                          I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure , but I'm not a complete idiot - some bits are still missing


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by garagemark
                            I knew it was coming so I got in the fetal position the lessen the blow.

                            What a good write up, its a serious issue but you had me laughing my butt off!

                            Kind of seems wrong to do something so stupid and essentially get rewarded for it.
                            Just don't make a habit out of it!

                            In all seriousness -- This is a good way to break both your wrists and knock out all your teeth while your at it.

                            You guys with smooth cement floors that have been sealed really have to be careful about your angles -- attention to detail about two important surface area's needs to be considered and that is the floor and the ladder's rubber (or hard plastic) feet, be aware,
                            Another thing to be aware of is that the higher you climb the more you change the load vector on the ladders legs when its on any kind of an angle at all and the more the angle the more this snowballs -- I know its simple - but Iv worked with guys who put the ladder on a sketchy surface and a fair angle and then "test it" by just going up a rung or two and bouncing around on it then say "its solid"

                            This is the nasty thing about this type of situation --- the ladder will hold just fine until you get way the hell up there...


                            • #15
                              When ever I'm on dirt or marbles I am more comfortable swinging the feet to the inside so they stick into the dirt instead of resting on it.

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