Ladder accidents injure over 200,000 annually.

Position:Your Life

When working around the house this summer, be aware that one of the most potentially hazardous tools has no electrical cord, gas engine, whirling blades, or multiple moving parts. Yet, it sends more than 222,000 people to emergency rooms each year--beware the ladder.

"The number of emergency room visits from ladder-related injuries totals more than those for lawn mowers and home workshop saws combined," warns John Drengenberg, manager of Consumer Affairs at Underwriters Laboratories Inc., Northbrook, Ill., a not-for-profit product safety testing organization. "Of course the ladder is dangerous only if it is improperly used. So, whether you're standing on a stepladder to change a light bulb in the living room or on an extension ladder to clean out the gutters, a few precautions can keep you safe around the home."

Safety experts recommend these guidelines:

* Follow the use instructions and warning labels carefully. These help you choose the proper ladder for the job and describe weight and height limits.

* Use fiberglass ladders whenever there is a possibility of working near electricity or overhead power lines.

* Ensure the rungs are clean and dry and that...

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