Time to say goodbye to summer and hello to fall. This season change also means it’s time to drain the pool, clean out plants and rake up leaves. But, before starting, remember that as necessary as fall cleanup is to home ownership, safety is an essential part of fall cleanup.
While tackling the unique challenges of fall yard work, pay special attention to the various sources of injury. Also, remember that injury often comes from physical strain as much, if not more, than from accidents.
Adhere to the following tips to help ensure the results of fall yard cleanup is only preparation for winter and not a severe injury.
- Remember that leaf blowers blow more than leaves. Ever notice how much dirt and debris a leaf blower kicks up in addition to leaves? Getting dirt blown in the eyes isn’t only uncomfortable, but it can also be dangerous and scratch the retina. Safety glasses are essential for fall cleanup to prevent eye damage from flying debris. However, consider a hybrid safety glasses/goggle style like the Pyramex I-Force since the I-Force creates a seal around the eyes to keep them thoroughly protected from flying dust and debris.
- Use teamwork when using ladders. Ladders, no matter how sturdy they seem, always run the risk of slipping or buckling. Have someone hold ladders whenever someone climbs up, and never stand above the level noted by the manufacturer. Also, always wear safety glasses and a hard hat for added protection in a fall.
- Protect more than limbs when using a chainsaw. In addition to the possibility of limb damage, chainsaws pose potential hazards through falling branches, loud noise, wood chips, and other debris flying in the eyes. The Delta Plus ProGuard Loggers Safety Cap is equipped with everything needed earmuffs, a hard hat, and a steel mesh face visor to provide complete safety while cutting down branches this fall.
Cover hands for most outdoor projects. Insects live both in and under outdoor plants. In addition, plants can also harbor disease (commonly evidenced by powdery mildew on the leaves). For these reasons, wear durable safety gloves to keep hands safe from the bite of insects or plant-borne diseases. Gloves also help prevent blisters, which can remain painful and even get infected long after the yardwork is finished.
- 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 won’t do. Products like the Pyramex N95 Respirator provide safe breathing and a comfortable fit around the mouth and nose. Chemicals can also affect the eyes, so wear safety goggles.
- 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 the skin. Moreover, the very nature of yardwork means coming into contact with skin-damaging elements. Stay aware and stay covered.
- Make sure feet are adequately protected too. Wear slip-resistant soles and shoes that protect your feet from falling objects. Ensure your footwear is comfortable, too, since most yard work is done while standing.
- Think about how you use your body. When lifting, bend at the knees, not the waist, avoid lifting too heavy of objects, and alternate arms and legs to work muscles on both sides of the body. Also, make sure equipment fits the user, such as using a rake that is the proper height for the person raking.
- Consider the cumulative impact of loud noises. Always wear hearing protection with loud tools such as lawnmowers 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.
Fall cleanup presents the perfect opportunity to enjoy the last few days of nice weather and get the yard winter-ready. Be sure to adhere to the above tips to help avoid injuries and accidents to ensure the fall remains full of fun memories and not painful, lingering injuries.