Sprucing up your yard and home in the summer can be satisfying but also dangerous. Last year nearly 262,000 people went to an emergency room with injuries associated with yard work, including mowing, cutting branches, and power-washing.
Consumer Reports has some safety tips to help you dodge danger while working outside.
Lawn mowers accounted for an estimated 70,000 injuries last year. A mower blade rotates thousands of times a minute and can turn a rock or dog toy into a dangerous projectile.
So before you mow, survey the area for rocks and branches. Protect yourself with closed shoes, and long pants. When mowing hills, move across the slope rather than up and down; the mower will be easier to control.
Be careful when using a riding mower over uneven terrain. Many people are killed by the mower tipping over onto them. So unlike hand mowers, riding mowers should always move up and down slopes, not across. And NEVER allow a child to ride with you.
Last year there were 137,000 ER visits associated with ladder accidents. So before you climb, check your ladder for loose parts, sharp edges, or bent rungs. Then place it safely: Set it on level ground, with the base 12 inches from the wall for every 4 feet that the ladder reaches. It should also extend 3 feet past your roof or workspace. When climbing, always keep both hands on the rails, and step up the center of the ladder.
Pressure-washing is super satisfying but watch for potential danger. Stay aware of your surroundings. Wandering children or pets can be seriously injured if they get in the way of the powerful spray. And CR recommends TOSSING the red “zero” spray tip that may come with your washer. It’s more dangerous than useful.
One more yardwork safety tip from CR: Hedge trimmers are great for bushes and shrubs, but you should always keep your feet on the ground when working with them. For tall hedges, consider an extension model instead of working from a ladder.