When the leaves begin to fall, the yard becomes cluttered and needs to be cleaned up. It is important to get your yard ready for the cold weather coming this winter. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons offers these tips to prevent injuries while performing yard work.
- Use a rake that is comfortable for your height and strength. Wear gloves or use rakes with padded handles to prevent blisters.
- Wet leaves can be slippery; wear shoes or boots with slip-resistant soles. Keep your driveway and walkway clear of falling leaves. Wet leaves can create a hazard for pedestrians in the fall by making sidewalks slippery. Later in the season, snow may mix with leaves to increase the risk of falling. Homeowners should mulch or rake up fallen leaves and dispose of them according to local bylaws.
- Do not overfill leaf bags, especially if the leaves are wet. To avoid back injury, you should be able to carry bags comfortably.
- Never throw leaves over your shoulder or to the side. The twisting motion required to do so places undue stress on your back.
- Make sure the engine is off and cool before you begin any maintenance work or refuel your lawnmower.
- Wear protective gear like goggles and gloves, boots and long pants when mowing.
- Never mow barefoot or in sandals.
- Never use your hands or feet to clear debris from under a lawnmower. Use a stick or broom handle instead. Likewise, never touch the blades with your hands or feet, even if the engine is off. The blade can still move and cause serious injury.
If your trees also need sprucing up, be sure to look up and survey the area carefully before beginning to trim. Make careful note of where power lines are located before you set up your ladder so that it is positioned away from them. If your tree branches are touching or hanging near power lines, consider hiring a professional to prevent accidental electrocution.