Sunshine, blue skies, warm breezes. With nice weather comes the inevitable need to take care of your outdoor space.
Yardwork can be fun and fulfilling. It’s also a great way to get a little extra exercise in. However, it can also be dangerous. In fact, yardwork sends an estimated 875 people to the emergency room every day. Additionally, yardwork hazards account for around 26,000 injuries every month.
Don’t let your yardwork to-do list send you to the hospital. Check out our five yardwork safety tips.
Prepare the tools you’ll use
Before you pick up a power tool or start up your lawn mower, get familiar with how it works. Read the owner’s manual. If you don’t have one, check online. You should know what the different switches do, when to change to a different mode and how to maintain each tool between uses.
If a tool has a cord, scope the cord out for any signs of damage. Make sure everything’s switched off before plugging it in. Also, be sure to set ladders on level surfaces and don’t dig anywhere on your property before checking for possible buried utilities.
You wouldn’t exercise without warming up first and doing a cooldown afterward, right? You should approach yardwork with the same level of seriousness.
Take a few minutes to stretch out and warm up before getting started. Much of what you do while sprucing up your outdoor space relies on repetitive motions — raking, weeding and trimming, for example. So, it helps to switch up your activities every half hour or so to avoid overworking any one part of your body.
Make sure you always lift with your legs to avoid straining your back muscles. Also, stay hydrated even if it’s not a hot day. It’s critical to listen to your body. If anything hurts, take a break.
Prepare your outdoor space
Wind and rain can leave dangerous debris scattered over your lawn, landscaping beds, walkways and other areas. Mowing over sticks and rocks, for example, can send them flying into the air.
Before getting started, walk your yard and pick up anything that could be in your way. Flying debris is one of the leading causes of injuries. While you’re at it, take any children and pets indoors to keep them safe while you’re working.
Dress for success
This next important yardwork safety tip may seem obvious but is often overlooked. What you wear can either protect you or leave you more vulnerable to getting hurt.
You might be working with chemicals and irritants. Even if you aren’t, you’ll be on your feet as you go. Wearing proper shoes — and skipping the flip flops and sandals — is important. Additionally, pants and high rubber boots can help protect you from ticks as well as the sun.
Other key protective gear includes:
- Hearing protection to guard your ears from prolonged exposure to loud equipment
- Goggles or safety glasses to protect your eyes from flying debris as you work
- Gloves that fit well to protect your hands from exposure to chemicals or pricks from barbs and thorns
Make sure you’re awake and alert
Another yardwork safety tip is to avoid using alcohol or medications that might impair your judgment before you start working. Being mindful of what you’re doing is far too important. Especially if you’re working with power tools or anything with a sharp blade.
Preventing injuries during yardwork isn’t always possible. After all, accidents are just that — accidents. If something happens, our experts are here to treat your injury and get you back to working outdoors.