7 Safety Strategies To Prevent Injury While Cleaning Gutters

15 May 2015
 Categories: Business, Articles

Gutter cleaning should be done at least twice a year, in spring and in fall. If your property has a lot of trees, you may need to do it more often. It's essential to follow certain safety measures to prevent injuries while doing this project. Although not always related to gutter cleaning, hundreds of Canadian homeowners are injured during ladder-related accidents every year. Wearing gloves and glasses also can help you avoid injuries that aren't necessarily related to being on a ladder.  Read this article to learn more about safety practices to follow. 

Use the Right Ladder

If you don't have a good ladder, now is the time to buy one. A stepladder with four legs is ideal for single-story gutter cleaning, but you'll need an extension ladder if you have to climb higher. Aluminum is the best material for a gutter-cleaning ladder, as it's sturdier than wood and lighter than fiberglass. If you have a substantial amount of gutter space around your house, moving a heavy fiberglass ladder over and over can become quite tiring. 

Use the Buddy System

One of the best ladder safety measures is to have someone with you as you're doing the project. If any parts of your yard are uneven and make the ladder feet a bit unsteady, your buddy can hold the ladder still as you climb and work. 

Use a Gutter-Cleaning Device

Gutter-cleaning devices are cheap and available at stores with lawn and garden departments. The equipment effectively extends your reach so you don't have to move the ladder as often. You'll be less inclined to reach further than you should to avoid moving the ladder so frequently.

Ladder safety has a three-point contact rule: always have both feet and one hand on the ladder, or both hands and one foot. If you can't do this, you're reaching too far, which is a substantial risk for losing your balance and falling.

Wear the Right Shoes

Wear sturdy shoes with textured soles to prevent slipping on the ladder rungs. 

Wear Gloves

Even if you use a gutter-cleaning device, you still need to do the finishing touches with your hands. You never know what may be lurking in the roof gutters. You might run across a stinging insect such as a hornet or wasp that had decided this was a good place to hide. Gloves help you avoid being stung. They also protect your hands from moldy organic debris and from bird and rodent droppings. 

Two types of gloves are best for this job. Heavy-duty tear-resistant rubber gloves work well, as do thick suede work gloves. 

Wear Glasses

If you don't wear eyeglasses for vision correction, don a pair of sunglasses or safety glasses before climbing up the ladder. This can be a dirty job. You don't want dust from plant debris or from dried bird and animal droppings, or bits of dead insects, getting in your eyes. Eyeglasses also block gnats, mosquitoes and other pesky insects that tend to hover around a person's head. 

Clean Gutters During Good Weather

Be proactive and make sure the gutters are free of debris when a storm is predicted. If you don't, and you later see water pouring over the sides during a storm, you may feel compelled to haul the ladder out and fix the problem as soon as there's a lull. That puts you at risk of being struck by lightning or slipping on wet ladder rungs. 

Concluding Thoughts

Following these strategies will keep you safe as you maneuver with a ladder and clear debris from the gutters. If you don't want to put forth this much effort at least twice a year, schedule the project with an affordable gutter cleaning service like Victoria Window Cleaning.