Very few people actually enjoy it, but that doesn’t mean cleaning your gutters has to be done anyways. Gutter cleaning is an essential job typically done before winter sets in to prepare houses from any future rain or snow, as a drainage system that doesn’t flow properly can cause significant damage to a house. Aside from the fact that most people aren’t particularly fond of this housework, the opportunity for falls and other injuries is also quite high, mainly because it’s performed off the ground.
Falls are the number one cause of accidental injury and death in homes every year, and other unexpected injuries may occur in the process of cleaning gutters as well. While this might make the thought of cleaning your gutters even more daunting, the truth is most of these accidents result from a lack of attention to possible dangers, and in the majority of injuries can be prevented if certain precautions are taken.
By being cautious and taking specific safety measures, you can help ensure you’re doing all you can to get the job done and avoid an injury. Cleveland Physical Therapy Associates recommends the following safety tips for gutter cleaning:
- Partner: having someone else assist you by passing tools and holding the ladder will make the job both faster and safer; at the least, let someone know you’re cleaning gutters and have them check on you periodically
- Gloves: wear a pair of gloves (a thick, suede pair is best), to prevent contact with mold and protect you from sticks and other sharp objects
- Protective eyewear: use goggles or other eyewear to keep the eyes safe
- Ladders: use a safe, sturdy ladder, preferably made of fiberglass or aluminum (avoid wood); four-legged step ladders are recommended for one-story and extension ladders for two-stories or more; always maintain three points of contact with the ladder (two hands and one foot, etc.)
- Rubber shoes: if you happen to be cleaning the gutters from the roof, use rubber-soled shoes, which will help avoid slipping and reduce fall risk
- Gutter scoop: a plastic gutter scoop (not metal) is recommended as the most efficient tool for cleaning out gutters
- Bucket and rope: attach a bucket to the shelf on the ladder to clear debris and prevent too much reaching
You certainly don’t have to love cleaning gutters, but by making sure you’re using the right tools and taking appropriate safety precautions, at least you’ll know you’re reducing your chance of injury while doing it. For more guidance on gutter cleaning or for any other aches or pains, Cleveland Physical Therapy Associates is here to help. Call 704-471-0001 to learn more or to schedule an appointment at either or our two locations in Shelby or Kings Mountain, NC.