In a meeting of ladders and electricity, ladders are the losers nearly every time. Ladders are excellent tools for cleaning gutters, painting, pressure-washing, repairing roofing and siding, trimming trees, and hanging holiday lights. Many times, however, we find ourselves using or carrying a ladder near electrical lines. If you are using a ladder near electricity, remember these tips:

  1. Before picking up a ladder, check the area for potential hazards, especially electrical lines. Take a mental picture of how far or close you will need to carry your ladder and work to keep your ladder away from the power lines.
  2. Always keep your ladder and body at least 10 feet from power lines. If you think you may be too close, you probably are. Move back and stay away.
  3. Never use aluminum or metallic ladders in the vicinity of powerlines.
  4. Water is an excellent conductor of electricity. Remember that tree branches can contain water and can conduct electricity. Never lean your ladder against a tree or branch that is touching or near a power line.
  5. Wooden ladders can and will conduct electricity, especially if they are wet, dirty or damaged. Fiberglass ladders only provide minimum protection.
  6. Look up! Avoid dropping tools or materials onto power lines and especially be aware of what is above you.