After a long winter’s break you’re probably ready to get outside. Before you start your work, consider the following spring cleaning safety tips that can keep you and others from getting injured.
1. Get warmed up. Before you begin working outside, stretch your muscles by warming up. Stretching, twisting, and jumping can increase your muscle temperature, helping your muscles to contract more forcefully and quickly relax. Warm ups improve your range of motion, increase your blood temperature and help blood vessels dilate. Exercise also offers great mental preparation by allowing you to transition from one task to another one.
2. Watch your back. Following your warm ups, you’ll be good to go, right? Well, yes. Then again, no. You still need to be mindful of those parts of your body that may buckle under the strain, in particular your back. If you need to lift something heavy, do so with the help of another individual. If another person is not available and you can lift the object yourself, do so slowly and carefully. Bend at the knees to transfer weight to leg and thigh muscles. Keep whatever you are lifting close to your body. Avoid twisting at the waist. You’ll minimize strain by taking your time and by acknowledging when something is too heavy for you to lift alone.
3. Service your equipment. Likely, you own several pieces of yard equipment including power mowers, grass and shrub clippers, leaf blowers, and edgers. Before you start using any equipment, ensure that it has been serviced. Mower blades should be sharpened and tightened. The oil may need to be changed and an air filter replaced. Never insert your hand in the protective guard unless the spark plug has been removed.
4. Clear the lawn. Months of winter weather may have left debris across your lawn. Survey your property and remove twigs, sticks, rocks and other debris with a hand rake. Only begin to mow the lawn when you know that the surface is clear. A random rock can become an instant projectile that could hit you or someone else within the mower’s path.
5. Wear safety equipment. Sure, you could cut the grass in your flip flops wearing shorts. You could also find yourself screaming in pain when you stub your toe or worse. Always wear clothes that are right for the job at hand. Long pants, gloves, eye wear, a hat and ear plugs are a good investment. Do not allow anyone to stand near your equipment when it is operating. And if you have small children or pets, they should never be near any equipment even when not operated.
6. Understand your chemicals. If possible, keep chemical use to a minimum. Read labels carefully and only buy enough fertilizer for the job at hand. Old chemicals should be disposed of properly; keep poisons out of reach of children and pets. Find out when your community has hazardous waste disposal collections to rid yourself of excess. Always use gloves and a mask when applying chemicals.
7. Place ladders with care. Position ladders with care, making sure that you’re on solid ground and the ladder appropriately tilted when working off the ground. Ladders should be secure with strings securely in place. Avoid setting any ladder up where utility poles are present. And only move up and down a ladder by facing the ladder.
If possible, always perform your work with another person present. If a ladder falls down while you’re on the roof, you will have someone around to put it back in place. And if the unthinkable happens, such as a life-threatening injury, you’ll have someone around who can call for emergency assistance.
See Also — 5 Home Remodeling Safety Tips