According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, between 2000 and 2003 an estimated 17,500 people were treated in US emergency rooms for holiday decorating-related injuries. Just under half of those injuries were caused by falls from ladders, light bulbs
probably still clutched in hand.
It's easy to avoid such a situation. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers some advice for staying out of their offices:
Set ladders on a firm, level surface. Do not set ladders on soft, muddy spots, or on uneven ground or flooring. This is probably the most common cause for injury, and it's very easy to plan for.
Keep the bottom of the ladder one foot away from the wall for every four feet of height. 15 foot high roof? Then the bottom of the ladder should be about three to four feet away from the building.
Use the proper ladder for the job. When working at low or medium heights, use step stools or utility ladders. Extension ladders are good for use outdoors to reach especially high places.
When standing on a ladder, be careful when pushing or pulling items from shelves or handling materials such as holiday lights and decorations. Always position the ladder close to the work area to reduce the risk of losing your balance and falling.
Never use a stepladder's top or pail shelf as a seat. These aren't designed to hold your weight and could break or tip at the most inopportune of moments.
Be safe this holiday season by following this advice and adhering to simple common sense.