Autumn is here and for many the heavy duty yard work begins. Even with a leaf blower the leaves and twigs have to be piled and picked up, gutters have to be cleaned and the home prepared for the coming cold weather.
It is strenuous and sometimes hazardous work. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 617,000 people were injured in 2008 doing yard work. Why risk an injury?
Lou Paradise, president and chief of research at Topical BioMedics, offers Casa Latina readers safety tips to add to your Autumn DIY checklist. Taking a few precautions before you start will go a long way in staying safe and enjoying the glorious autumn season.
- Warm up for at least 10 minutes before doing any heavy yard work.
- Cover any exposed area of your skin with a natural sunscreen to prevent sunburn.
- Use a rake that is comfortable for your height and strength.
- Wear gloves or use a rake with padded handles to prevent blisters.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect skin from scratches caused by low-hanging tree branches and other plants.
- Wear shoes or boots with slip-resistant soles.
- Keep a roll of trash bags close by while cleaning the yard to easily place fallen leaves and other debris into the bags so you will not trip over something that might be hidden by the leaves.
- Never throw leaves over your shoulder or to the side, which puts undue stress on your back.
- When picking up leaves, bend at the knees not the waist.
- Vary your movement and alternate your leg and arm position when picking up leaves.
- Make sure to switch which arm is dominating to work the muscles on both sides of your body equally when raking leaves. Switch sides often to prevent overworking certain group of muscles.
- Wear safety glasses to keep eyes protected from flying dirt and debris.
- Be sure to have a family member hold the ladder in place when climbing a ladder and do not stand above the level indicated by the manufacturer.
- Wear gloves and a facemask when handling chemicals such as lawn fertilizers and keep these items away from children and pets.
- Wear earmuffs, a hard hat and a steel mesh face visor when using a chainsaw.’
- Wear durable safety gloves to keep hands safe from the bite of insects or plant-borne disease.
It’s important to think safety first during this year’s fall cleanup.