Ladder Safety question

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Old 06-15-15, 09:45 AM
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Ladder Safety question

After cleaning my gutters using an extension ladder with a stabilizer, and not liking the process, I tried out a “podium ladder” step ladder at a friend’s house, and loved using it. I am going to get one for me, as I think it will be a better option. The ladder will also be useful for other tasks.
One thing: I tried the ladder with the feet resting on a concrete patio-very level.
The grade around my house slopes away from the house (for drainage purposes), and also slopes parallel to the foundation in a few spots near corners. While neither of the slopes is very severe, they could result in the ladder being placed on non-level ground.
My question: From what I know/ think about ladder safety I do not want to place the ladder on a side to side slope (as I face the ladder).
That said, if the slope is gentle enough, which is safer, if either: Having the ladder positioned so that I am facing the “uphill” side of the slope as I climb, or the other way?
I also would consider, if needed, digging out a hole for the legs in order to make the ladder more level.
As always, any suggestions/comments are welcome, and thanks in advance.
 
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Old 06-15-15, 10:02 AM
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You can buy bolt on levelers that mount to the ladder.
Got mine at Lowes.
 
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Old 06-15-15, 10:17 AM
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Changing the grade with a shovel or using a ladder stabilizer leg are your two options that are recognized as being "safe".

Adding shims beneath the legs is generally not considered safe, but that being said, (disclaimer) it's commonly done all the time. Best way to do it is simply to use a wide board under the leg that is up in the air, such as a 2x12 that is maybe 12-24" long. One end of the 2x12 sits on the high ground, while the other end is shimmed up with another 2x4, a brick, or similar.

For a step ladder, you can lay a 4x4 sheet of 3/4 plywood down on the ground and then block the corners as needed to level it. using 4' long boards on each side which are shimmed as mentioned above. Obviously this will not be safe if your blocking is not solid, so use your judgement.

There is a point at which it's not safe to climb a ladder that is not level. Generally you should always face the ladder so that you can maintain 3 points of contact with the ladder as needed. If you climb it, then turn around and face away from the ladder you can no longer grab it if you lose your balance.
 
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Old 06-15-15, 10:57 AM
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Don't know which aspect of the podium ladder you prefer, the platform or the fact that it gets you closer to the wall than a conventional step ladder, but, if the latter, you might want to take a look at a Little Giant and the ways that you can configure one. More often than not I clean the gutters from on the roof, but, say to clean outside of them or the soffits, I adjust it so that the side against the house is almost vertical, and the legs have a wide spread a the bottom for stability.
 
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