Time to say goodbye to summer and hello to fall. This change in seasons also means it’s time to drain the pool, clean out plants and rake up leaves. Before starting, remember that as necessary as fall cleanup is to home ownership, so too is safety an essential part of fall cleanup.
While tackling the unique challenges of fall yard work, take time to pay special attention to the various sources of injury. Also, keep in mind that injury often comes from physical strain as much, if not more, than it does from accidents.
Adhere to the following tips to help ensure the results of fall yard cleanup is only preparation for winter and not serious 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 too. Safety glasses are an absolutely necessity 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 eyes to keep them completely 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 also pose potential hazards through falling branches, their loud noise, as well as wood chips and other debris flying in the eyes. The Elvex 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 a powdery mildew on the leaves). For these reasons, 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 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 just won’t do. Products like the Moldex Respirator provide safe breathing along with a comfortable fit around the mouth and nose. Chemicals can affect eyes too, so wear safety glasses as well.
- 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. What’s more, the very nature of yardwork means coming into contact with skin-damaging elements. Stay aware and stay covered.
- Make sure feet are properly protected too. Wear slip-resistant soles and shoes that protect feet from falling objects. Make sure footwear is comfortable too since most yardwork is done while standing.
- Think about how you use your body. 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. 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 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.
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 which leads to it also being spring-perfect. Be sure to adhere to the above tips to help avoid injuries and accidents and to take Time to Get Your Safety Gear Ready for Fall Yard Cleanup in order to make sure the fall remains full of fun memories and not painful, lingering injuries.
Good advice Michael. When it comes to leaf blowers I would also suggest wetting particularly dusty areas to reduce the impact it would otherwise have. Another good tip is to start with the nozzle low and gradually increase the height, not going beyond the point that an unacceptable level of dust is kicked up.
Some great advice here! Many people don’t realize the potential risks involved in yard work. I find safety glasses and hearing protection to be an essential piece of kit for all landscape gardeners and even for home owners who do their own lawn and garden maintenance.
Great Article. I see people on a daily basis ignoring the risks and hope that I don’t see someone get injured. I started wearing eye protection two years ago after a close call with a leaf blower and a rock.
Sometimes it takes a close call like that for people to be safer. At least you made the change. Others still wouldn’t have, and that’s why we continue to educate. Thanks for reading, Scott. Stay safe.