No matter where you live in the United States, autumn is here. If you are lucky enough to live in the southern states, you may not have as much yard cleanup or winter prep to do, but there are still chores to be done outside. If you have a good relationship with your neighbors or are check in on your parents regularly, you may even find yourself cleaning up someone else’s property, or at least helping out.
Personal injury can occur anywhere and at any time, even while performing seemingly routine chores like yard cleanup. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 600,000 people were hurt in 2008 doing yard work. There is no need to risk injury on your own property or on the property of someone else. Use the following as a guide to getting your outdoor chores completed safely. And if you are involved in an accident, be sure to speak with a medical professional and then a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
1. Warm Up
Yard work can be strenuous activity, especially if you aren’t used to routine exercise. Warm up for 10 minutes before doing anything like raking or trimming trees. Light stretches will be enough to get your blood pumping and feeding your muscles.
2. Proper Tools
Many people make the mistake of grabbing the cheapest rake they can find at the store with very little thought. Rakes are made in different heights, and some are even adjustable. You want to be sure that you are using a rake that is right for your height and strength.
Your shoes should have slip-resistant soles. Don’t wear flip flops or sandals without traction on the bottom. If you have them in the house, put on boots that will protect your ankles from any debris that is kicked up from the ground.
4. Picking Up Leaves
If you are raking leaves, you want to do it safely. Don’t pick up a rake full of leaves and try to toss them over your shoulder or off to the side. This puts added stress on your back. If you decide to rake a pile and then pick leaves up by hand, make sure you are bending at the knees and not at your waist. When you are picking up leaves, try to vary your movement a bit. Repetitive motions place more strain on your joints.
5. Safety Gear
Don’t neglect to wear safety gear when working in your yard. Yes, it’s your yard and you know its hazards, but strange things can happen. At a minimum, make sure you are wearing eye protection and, if you are using machinery, ear protection. It’s always a good idea to wear gardening or work gloves to prevent splinters and blisters.
6. Ladder Safety
Never climb a ladder alone if it can be helped. In other words, make sure someone is home and knows what you are planning on doing. A best practice is to have someone outside with you and standing at the bottom of the ladder holding it steady. If you have no one to help you, at least make sure your ladder is on an even surface and you only climb as high as necessary.
The weather may be nice, but you should still protect your skin from flying debris and even the sun. If you are going to be working out in the yard, wear long sleeves and long pants. Doing so will help prevent you from being scraped by branches or burnt by the sun’s rays.
8. Check Recalls
Recalls are issued for products on an almost daily basis. Check out sites like the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission for any information on products that have been recalled recently. If you find a lawn and garden product that you own on the list, don’t use it. Instead, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for having it repaired, replaced or refunded.
Lawn chores are rarely something that anyone looks forward to, but they are a necessity as cold weather moves in. It may seem as though being hurt in your own yard is a low risk, but you can very well sustain an injury when you least expect it. If someone helping you is injured on your property, you could be held liable. The same could be said if you are injured on someone’s property. You may not want to think of suing your own friend or family member for damages, but you may be forced to. The best course of action is to avoid putting yourself in that situation to begin with.
If you do experience a personal injury in Fort Lauderdale due to a property owner’s negligence or product defect, you need an attorney on your side. Reach out to our office today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. We will advise you of the options available to you under Florida law. Call today for assistance or browse our website for more information about our firm and the types of cases we handle.