Spring is here and we’re getting ready to clean up inside our homes and to work outside in our lawns and gardens. But all that lifting, climbing, trimming and other spring cleaning activities heighten the risk for home injuries. According to the Home Safety Council (www.homesafetycouncil.org) there are over 10 million unintentional home injuries in the U.S. per year that result in visits to hospital emergency rooms.
Your safety at home is as important as your safety at work! With that in mind, we offer the following home safety tips.
Ladders- If you need to climb, use a ladder (not a chair, table or box):
- Place step ladders on level surface and open completely
- Before using a ladder outdoors, choose a location that is at least 10 feet away from power lines.
- Use the 4-to-1 rule for extension ladders: for each 4 feet of distance upward move the base of the ladder 1 foot out from the wall.
- Always face the ladder and wear slip-resistant shoes.
- Keep your body centered on the ladder. Use the belly button rule: If your belly button passes beyond the side rail of the ladder, you are overreaching and at risk for falling.
- Stand at or below the highest standing level on a ladder. For stepladder, the safe standing level is the second rung from the top, and for extension ladders, it’s the fourth rung from the top.
Be kind to your back- Following these lifting techniques can help prevent most back injuries:
- Plan your lift, don’t hurry. Make sure you have a clear path from start to finish.
- Bend at the knees, not at the waist and keep your back straight. Lift with your strong leg and thigh muscles.
- Keep the object close to your body.
- Do Not twist at the waist. Move your feet to turn your body.
- Get help when lifting heavy objects (e.g. over 50 pounds)
Lawn and Garden Safety
- Service lawnmowers and power tools every spring before using them. Make sure that they are in good working condition and all guards are in place.
- Before mowing, walk the lawn and pick-up sticks, stones, toys and other debris that could shoot out from the mower or damage the blade.
- Don’t let others stand or sit anywhere near where you are mowing.
- Do not allow children to ride on lawn tractors/mowers.
- Wear proper clothing and protective equipment:
- Closed-toe sturdy shoes with non-slip soles
- Wear eye protection when mowing, using weed wackers or other power equipment
- Don’t wear any loose clothing that could be caught in moving parts
- Always wear hearing protection when using power equipment.
- Never reach under the mower unless it is turned off and the blades has completely stopped.
- Store gasoline in approved containers. Refuel equipment outdoors when the engine is cool.
- Use fertilizers and insect and weed killers according to the container labels. Keep pets and children off of newly treated areas. Use non-toxic products where possible.
- Read and follow all labels and instructions before using chemicals and cleaning products..
- Wear protective clothing, rubber gloves, and eye protection when using chemicals.
- Never mix chemical products. Combinations of certain chemicals (e.g. chlorine and ammonia) can create harmful gases.
- Store household and lawn chemicals in a closed container out of reach of children and pets.
- Keep cleaning products and chemicals in their original labeled container. Always label containers if you must remove them from their original container.
- Discard products that are no longer needed. Contact the Tompkins County Solid Waste (http://www.recycletompkins.org/Garbage/Household-Hazardous-Waste) to find out when the next “Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Days” will be held.
Take it easy; take lots of breaks, drink lots of water and most importantly ENJOY SUMMER.