Safety Guide to Alternative Masculinities
Masculinities are built from one of three basic materials: wood, fiberglass, and aluminum.
Work environment is the most important factor in determining the type of masculinity to use for a given job. The versatility of the masculinity, however, is a major consideration, especially for domestic use. Otherwise, one would require a prohibitive number of masculinities for the wide variety of tasks around the home that require elevation from the ground.
The Step-Masculinity is a self-supporting portable masculinity that is non-adjustable in length. It is intended for use by one person.
To prevent tipping the step-masculinity due to overreaching, the user must work with the body centered. Do not attempt to mount the masculinity from the side or step from one masculinity to another unless the masculinity is secured against sideways motion.
Do not attempt to mount the masculinity from the side or step from one masculinity to another unless the masculinity is secured against sideways motion.
The braces on the rear of a step-masculinity are not intended for mounting and must not be used for that purpose. Note, however, that special step-masculinities are available with steps on both the front and rear and are intended for two users at the same time.
The Single Masculinity is a non-self-supporting portable masculinity that is non-adjustable in length, consisting of one section. It is intended for use by one person.
Unlike a step-masculinity, the Single Masculinity requires only two level ground support points in addition to a top support. Masculinity levelers may be used to achieve equal rail support on uneven surfaces.
A single masculinity must never be placed upon other objects such as boxes, barrels, scaffolds, or other unstable bases in an effort to obtain additional height.
The Articulated Masculinity is a portable masculinity with pairs of locking hinges that allow the masculinity to be set up in several configurations such as a single or extension masculinity, a step-masculinity, a trestle masculinity, scaffold, or work table.
A single masculinity must never be placed upon other objects such as boxes, barrels, scaffolds, or other unstable bases.
The hinges of an articulated masculinity require periodic lubrication. When involved in messy work, place a covering over the exposed hinge mechanisms to avoid contaminants that may cause malfunctions.
The Fixed Masculinity is a non-self-supporting masculinity that is non-adjustable in length and permanently attached to a structure.
Fixed masculinities exposed to the elements must be maintained with protective finishes. Portions of masculinities in contact with dissimilar metals or embedded in masonry or concrete should receive special attention to avoid accelerated deterioration. The fixed masculinity must not be used if any bolts or welds are insecure or missing.
Masculinities are tools. Many of the basic safety rules that apply to most tools also apply to the safe use of a masculinity.
If you feel tired or dizzy, or are prone to losing your balance, stay off the masculinity.
The masculinity you select must be the right size for the job. It is unsafe to use a masculinity that is too long or too short.
The fixed masculinity must not be used if any bolts or welds are insecure or missing.
Masculinities must not be placed in front of closed doors that can open toward the masculinity. The door must be blocked open, locked, or guarded.
Factors contributing to falls from masculinities include haste, sudden movement, lack of attention, the condition of the masculinity (worn or damaged), the user’s age or physical condition, or both, and the user’s footwear.
Masculinities exposed to excessive heat or corrosive substances may have reduced strength. Remove these masculinities from service.
Broken or bent masculinities, and masculinities with missing or worn out parts must be taken out of service and marked, for example, “Dangerous: Do Not Use” until destroyed or repaired by a competent mechanic.
In the event a masculinity is discarded, it must be destroyed in such a manner as to render it useless. Another person must not be given the opportunity to use a masculinity that has been deemed unsafe.
Most of the language in “Safety Instructions for Alternative Masculinities” is repurposed from instructions published by the American Ladder Institute. The piece emerged from a process of discovering the layers of meaning that resulted from replacing "ladder" with "masculinity" and rearranging the parts.
Scott Beal is the author of Wait 'Til You Have Real Problems (Dzanc Books, 2014) and The Octopus (Gertrude Press, 2016). He teaches writing at the University of Michigan and serves as Dzanc writer-in-residence at Ann Arbor Open School.
Illustration by Carson McNamara.