Warming temps and bright sunshine stir gardeners to action. But move too quickly or vigorously and you may not weather the planting season. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that about 230,000 people are treated in emergency rooms for injuries from lawn and garden equipment each year. Help keep yourself and others safe this spring with these suggestions:
Schedule a spring cleanup.
1. Tour your yard. Identify safety hazards and take care of potential threats. Use a checklist such as this one from West Virginia University Extension as a guide.
2. Trim overgrowth. Take down damaged tree branches before they fall and cause injuries. Prune shrubbery and thorny rose stems that intrude into pathways.
3. Remove obstacles. Reposition dislodged stepping-stones and garden stakes. Discard any debris that could trip gardeners, damage lawn equipment or be sent flying by power mowers.
4. Stop noxious weeds early. Eradicate up-and-coming poison ivy and other annoyance weeds. Not sure what’s what? Take a sprig to an extension office for identification.
5. Keep your work area orderly. Carry tools to and from the garden in a designated bucket or wheelbarrow so you have a place to store them while you’re working.
Protect yourself and others.
6. Update vaccinations. Tetanus-causing bacteria live in soil and enter your body through breaks in the skin. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults regularly check their tetanus shot status. If it’s been 10 years or more, it’s time to revaccinate.
7. Deter disease-causing pests. Dispose of stagnant water that attracts breeding mosquitoes. Use bug repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into long socks to keep ticks at bay.
8. Wear safety gear. Gloves, sunscreen and sunhats protect against contaminants, thorns, blisters, sunburn and insects. Protective eyewear or sunglasses can help keep debris out of your eyes.
9. Safeguard youngsters. Keep kids inside anytime outdoor power equipment is being used. Store power equipment, fuel, sharp tools and garden chemicals out of children’s reach. Monitor children around garden ponds, buckets or anywhere water is stored.
Work smarter, not harder.
10. Avoid pain. Stretch before and during your gardening labors. The Arthritis Foundation says the stretch can be as simple as standing with your arms out in front and reaching as far as you can.
The information in this article was obtained from various sources. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under any policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information. We assume no liability in connection with the information nor the suggestions made.
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