The change in seasons means it’s time to drain the pool, clean out plants and rake the lawn. Before starting, remember that as necessary as fall cleanup is to home ownership, so too is safety.
Adhere to the following tips to help ensure the results of fall yard cleanup is only preparation for winter, a great looking home, and not serious injury.
- Leaf blowers blow more than leaves. A leaf blower always kicks up plenty of debris other than just leaves. Getting dirt blown in the eyes isn’t only uncomfortable, but it can also be dangerous and scratch the retina too. Safety glasses are an absolutely necessity for fall cleanup to prevent eye damage. You may want to consider a hybrid safety glasses/goggle style that creates a seal around eyes to keep them completely protected from flying dust and debris.
- Wear a mask when spraying chemicals. Wear at least a mask when spraying fertilizer or any chemicals since simply holding a hand across the mouth or holding your breath just won’t do. Many products provide safe breathing along with a comfortable fit around the mouth and nose. Chemicals can affect eyes too, as evidenced by redness and stinging, so wear safety glasses as well.
- Use teamwork when using ladders. Though you probably don’t need to worry about bad luck from walking under a ladder, no matter how sturdy they seem, they always run the risk of slipping or buckling. Have someone hold ladders whenever someone else climbs up, and never stand above the level noted by the manufacturer.
- Protect more than just limbs when using a chainsaw. In addition to the possibility of limb damage, chainsaws also pose hazards through falling branches, their loud noise, and flying debris. Use a combination of earmuffs, a hard hat, and a steel mesh face visor to provide complete safety while cutting branches and bushes.
- Cover hands for most outdoor projects. There are few things more reminiscent of hard work than a pair of calloused, dirty hands. However even for the most rugged skin, cuts and injuries can happen. Wear durable safety gloves to keep hands safe from the bite of insects or plant-borne disease. Gloves also help prevent blisters, which can remain painful and get infected long after the yardwork is finished.
- Protect skin from the fall elements too. From sunburn, to scratches and scrapes, exposed skin is susceptible to the elements during the fall. The sun may not be as hot, but it can still damage skin. Stay aware and stay covered with sunscreen and protective, lightweight clothing.
- Consider the cumulative impact of loud noises. Always wear hearing protection when working with loud machinery such as lawn mowers and chainsaws. And remember that ear damage is cumulative, which means that while a single event can lead to ringing in the ears, repeated exposure to loud noises more likely leads to permanent hearing loss.
- Don’t forget the feet! Wear slip-resistant soles and shoes that protect feet from falling objects. Steel-toed boots are often the best option for doing and heavy lifting or moving. Make sure footwear is comfortable too since most yardwork is done while standing.
- Think about various strains on your body. Keep in mind that injury often comes from physical strain as much, if not more, than it does from accidents. Bend at the knees not the waist when lifting, avoid lifting too heavy of objects, and alternate arms and legs to work muscles on both sides of the body. Take breaks, stretch, and listen to your body when certain pains indicated that it’s time to call it a day.
Fall cleanup presents the perfect opportunity to get the family outside enjoying the last nice weather of the year and to get the yard winter-ready. Be sure to adhere to the above tips to help avoid injuries and accidents in order to make sure the fall remains full of fun memories and not painful, lingering injuries.