Have you looked out your window? Summer is here, and your yard is calling! But before you head outside, here are some simple precautions to ensure your yardwork is disaster-free.
Know your equipment. Before operating a new lawn mower or weed trimmer, read the owner’s manual and all of the safety information.
Practice ladder safety. Always make sure your ladder is firmly set on a level surface. Never set ladders on boxes or other objects to make the ladder reach higher areas. Lock or barricade any doors that may open toward ladders. Also, never stand on the top rung or step of a ladder–your balance could be jeopardized.
Watch your children. Every year, thousands of children nationwide are injured by lawn-care tools. That’s why we recommend keeping small children inside while you’re mowing or trimming. Do not allow children younger than 12 to operate a push lawn mower and anyone under the age of 16 to operate a driving lawn mower. Do not take children on rides with a riding mower.
Check your extension cords. Before use, check your extension cords. If you find cracked or frayed wires, replace the cord. And never run extension cords through puddles.
Protect your body. Wear protective gear. We all know that lawnmowers can turn rocks or sticks into flying projectiles. Wear long pants and non-slip, closed toe shoes. And don’t forget your eyes and ears! Sunglasses will protect your eyes, and earplugs can eliminate loud machinery noises that could cause hearing loss.
Store tools and materials in safe places. A range of injuries can be caused by stepping on or bumping into garden tools like shovels, rakes, and trowels. When not in use, store them in safe, enclosed areas. Also, weed killer and lawn fertilizer can be deadly to children or pets. Carefully seal potentially harmful materials and store them where small children cannot reach.
Don’t dig without approval. Check with your local utility companies before you dig trenches, holes, or any other cavity in your yard. You do not want to be responsible for accidentally hitting gas, electrical or sewer lines – the results of which can be extremely hazardous, not to mention expensive.
Be conscious of electricity. Don’t leave electrical tools plugged in while not in use. When ready to use a tool, make sure equipment is in the off position before you plug it in.
Get green smart. Before you or your children do any “hands on” weed removal, be sure you can identify poison ivy, sumac, oak, and similar toxic plants. Find out ahead of time how to treat the rashes they cause. To view WebMD's slideshow of poisonous plants, click here.
Be Smart. It’s obvious. Never operate lawn machinery or use heavy garden tools while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.