Staying safe while doing yard work

4889164_S-300x212It’s finally springtime! It’s the time of the year to venture outside to spruce up your yard. But before you head outside, we’d love to share with you some important safety information that can help you — and your family — avoid a trip to the emergency room.

Don’t think there’s much of a chance you’ll get injured in your own yard? Think again! Springtime is one of the top times of the year for ER visits as a result of work outside the home. One of the biggest culprits: Power tools and lawn tools, including lawnmowers. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people are injured right in their own backyard by a lawnmower or other yard tool.

Here are some ways to keep you — and your family — safe while you’re working in your outside:

Buy the right mower. Use only a lawn mower that’s equipped with a control that stops the mower blade if the handle is released. Don’t forget to read the owner’s manual and all of the safety information. Ditto for your weed trimmer. Check with the manufacturer of your tools to make sure there haven’t been any safety recalls.

Watch your children. Each year, children nationwide are injured by lawn-care tools. That’s why you may want to keep small children inside while you’re mowing. At a minimum, 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.

Protect yourself. Anyone who is near a lawn mower — or operating it — should wear protective eye gear. Lawnmowers can hit rocks and other items that can be turned into flying projectiles. Wear long pants to protect your legs from flying objects and wear non-slip shoes instead of sandals. If you’re doing a lot of yard work, steel-toe shoes provide the best protection. And don’t forget your ears! Lawnmowers and weed cutters can be very loud — and over time, cause a substantial amount of hearing loss.

Store your tools and materials. Stepping on a rake or digging tool can cause injury. If you have small children or pets, weed killer or lawn fertilizer can be deadly. Don’t forget to stash your tools and materials in a safe place when they’re not in use.