I suppose I should start by mentioning that London (and I assume all of England) loves rules. They are an orderly people, and you can find a lot of oddly wordy warning messages and signs if you start to look for them. They never seem to use ten words when twenty could suffice. This has become a bit of a running joke between Mary and I, but the ladder instructions really are the pinnacle, at least thus far.
Among the helpful tips are:
- Ensure that you are fit enough to use the ladder. Certain medical conditions or medications, alcohol or drug abuse could make ladder use unsafe.
- I like that they give the drug abusers the benefit of the doubt. Just because you are on crack does not mean that you don't care about ladder safety.
- Ensure that the ladder is suitable for the task.
- I feel like this one is so overlay vague. Where is the treatise on determining ladder suitability?
- Before using a ladder at work a risk assessment should be carried out respecting the legislation of the country in use.
- Consult an expert in international ladder law as required.
- Ladders shall not be positioned on slippery surfaces (such as ice, shiny surfaces, or significantly contaminated surfaces)[...]
- While I get the ice thing, the calling out of shiny surfaces is just weird. They mention this non-specific contamination several times, which makes me imagine Karen Silkwood changing a lightbulb.
- Maintain a handhold whilst working from a ladder or take additional safety precautions if you cannot.
- Firstly, the Brits love them some 'whilst' -- you see it all the time. Secondly, additional safety precautions? Sheesh.
- Do not use the ladder as a bridge.
- Also, ladders do not make suitable chairs or babysitters. Do not taunt the ladder. Do not lend the ladder twenty quid, it will just blow it on cheap beer. Do not feed the ladder after midnight or get the ladder wet.
Also entertaining for us are the diagrams that show the safe and unsafe behaviors off. I mean, just look at Mr. Right Way. Is that someone you want to share a pint with? He looks like Ward Cleaver on a slow day. Mr. Wrong Way on the other hand makes using a ladder look like a blast! This is clearly someone you want to party with. Also, he looks like he has some Captain in him (a clear ladder rule violation.)
Ok. While I strongly suspect that this will not be the last post you will see on safety warnings and/or funny diagrams -- after all, we still need to compare and contrast the relative comfort levels of the silhouettes from the "do not put your feet on the seats" signs on the train -- I do think that I've gotten it out of my system for now. Next week I really will post pictures and commentary from the Bruges trip. Until then, please ensure that all ladder repairs are carried out by a competent person.