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    • Anytime you work with tools safety must be your primary concern. A few general rules to keep in mind are:
    • Protective glasses or goggles should be worn when using all power tools; when chiseling, sanding, scraping or hammering overhead, especially if you wear contact lenses.
    • Wear ear protectors when using power tools since some operate at noise levels that damage hearing.
    • Be careful of loose hair and clothing, so they don't get caught in tools.
    • The proper respirator or dust mask should be worn when sanding or sawing or using substances with toxic fumes.
    • Keep blades sharp. A dull blade requires excessive force, can slip, and cause accidents.
    • Always use the appropriate tool for the job, don’t shortcut
    • Repair or discard tools with cracks in the wooden handles, or chips in the metal parts, that could fail and cause injury.
    • Don't drill, shape, or saw anything that isn't firmly and properly secured.
    • Take care in storing oily rags, which may have combustible materials.
    • Don't abuse your tools. Use every tool for its specific use.
    • Keep a first aid kit on hand
    • Read the owner's manual for all tools and know the proper use of each (especially with power tools)
    • Keep all tools out of reach of small children.
    • Unplug all power tools when changing settings or parts.


    When shopping for a ladder -- as when buying any tool -- you want to look for the proper ladder for the intended use, and you want to buy the best quality ladder you can afford. High-quality ladders are sturdier, safer, easier to use, and with proper care should last a lifetime.

    According to the American Ladder Institute, approximately 171,000 ladder accidents occur in the United States each year. Don't be a statistic. Follow these safety tips from experts in the ladder and ladder accessory industries:

    Be aware of a ladder's duty rating, i.e., household, commercial, etc. Understand that ladders are rated to support a specified pound limit (weight of the person on the ladder, weight of clothing as well as tools and items that the person is using).

    The distance from the base of the wall to the base of the ladder should be ¼ the height of the ladder.

    Use a ladder made of the proper materials for a specific job. For example, use a wood or fiberglass ladder, not aluminum, for electrical work.

    Choose the appropriate ladder for a given project. Typically, step or A-frame ladders are preferred for interior jobs, extension ladders for outdoor jobs that require a longer reach.

    If using an older ladder thoroughly check for loose rivets, hinges or holding brackets, which have a tendency to wear out after extended use.

    Tools and other materials should not be placed on the ladder—a heavy tool falling off a ladder could cause harm to persons or objects below.

    Make sure a ladder’s foot pads are secure and set on a level surface; do not use rocks, bricks or other materials to "prop up" or level one side. Shim if necessary.

    DO NOT OVERSTRETCH OR OVEREXTEND your reach; this could cause a ladder to become unbalanced and result in a fall. If you can’t reach, move the ladder.

    Keep your hips within the ladder width

    Carry ladders properly. Close them completely before transporting.

    Dress appropriately for the weather and the project.

    Properly angle an extension ladder to the surface

    Get one of those tool-and-paint holder attachments that fit on the ladder or get a ladder that has it built right on it.

    Keep ladders away from electrical lines and pay attention to overhead lines or possible obstructions when moving an extended ladder into position.

    Never, never, never try the hop-the-ladder trick. This is one area where short cuts just don’t work.