Spring is in the air, which means snow and ice are finally melting and grass, flowers, and trees are beginning to bloom. Bidding farewell to the winter woes is something many Wisconsinites look forward to, but now that the ground is looking a bit greener, yardwork is being added back to the to-do lists.
As with any household chore, performing yard maintenance safely can prevent accidents. According to Consumer Reports, more than 100 people die each year while performing yardwork. In addition, around 143,000 people end up in the emergency room as the result of yardwork-related injuries.
Spring yard cleanup safety tips
Use the proper tools and equipment
Lawnmowers, trimmers, rakes, shovels, shears, and hoses are essential lawncare tools. However, older equipment is more prone to breaking down or not working as effectively. Make sure machinery is maintained regularly or replaced when necessary, and tools meet ergonomic standards. For example, a rake with a worn-out handle can break or cause splinters. Items such as frayed cords and defective outlets are major electrical hazards.
Power equipment such as pressure washers, generators and chainsaws should always be used with caution while following instructions in the owners manual. When doing yardwork that involves being on a ladder, be sure to follow proper safety protocols such as maintaining 3-point contact, keep weight balanced in the middle, and ensure the ground surface is stable. Falls from ladders make up an alarming number of accidents.
Storing tools and equipment, weed killer, fertilizer, and other chemicals in a safe, enclosed place prevents children, pets, and other vulnerable visitors from accessing them.
Wear protective equipment
When the temps are warm, it can be quite tempting to slip on a pair of sandals or other casual shoes. However, operating equipment and sharp tools without the proper footwear can lead to severe injury. Imagine dropping sharp pruning shears on your bare foot. Wear comfortable, close-toed boots or sneakers with tightly tied laces.
In addition to taking care of your feet during yard duty, your eyes, ears, and hands should also be covered. Always wear safety glasses or sunglasses to shield your eyes from flying objects, and ear protection to reduce loud noises that can cause hearing loss. Thick gloves help mitigate cuts, burns, and irritation.
Even when the sky is cloudy, wearing sunblock helps shield your skin from harmful ultraviolet rays, which can lead to sunburn and skin cancer. SPF sunscreen creates a barrier that leaves skin comfortable year-round. If you plan to be outside for a long time, reapply sunscreen every two hours for consistent protection.
With the right home insurance, your property is protected — including your yard you’ve worked hard to nurture and maintain. To learn more about the home coverage Rural Mutual offers, contact your local agent.