Hey, yard-work warrior, whether you’re out mowing the lawn, or planting new shrubs in your back yard, make sure that you take the proper safety precautions. Yard work mishaps don’t only happen to the other guy; thousands of people are injured every fall. Here are a few simple safety tips can ease the strain and reduce your risk of injury:

Dress for Safety

  • Wear proper shoes. Forget the flip-flops. They won’t protect your feet from debris or give you proper foot support in the yard.
  • Long sleeves and pants can help protect you from poison ivy, cuts, and other dangers lurking in the bushes.
  • Protective gloves with a nonslip surface will help you grip tools and prevent blisters. They also provide protection from thorns and sharp objects.
  • Safety glasses or goggles are especially important. Wear them when operating machinery like weed trimmers, lawnmowers, and leaf blowers. They protect your eyes from flying debris and pollen.

Warm Up

Remember to protect yourself by warming up with a few stretches before you begin working. Your muscles will thank you for it. Start with a short walk to loosen the muscles, followed by a 5 to 10 minute stretching session. This will help prevent injury to your back, legs, arms, shoulders, and neck.

Take Your Time

  • Be sure to pace yourself. Take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water. Proper hydration is important for your muscles and general good health.
  • Avoid straining muscles by rotating tasks to avoid repetitive movements.

Proper Lifting and Bending

Save your aching back. Remember to bend your knees, and use your legs when lifting heavy items. Do not just reach out with your arms. Lift that bag of mulch straight off the ground by bending your knees and keeping your spine straight. Avoid twisting your body, and get help if something is too heavy to lift alone safely. Also, remember that kneeling is easier on your back than bending over for long periods. Use kneepads, or sit on a garden stool to ease unnecessary stress on your back.

Protect Your Skin

  • Use sunscreen to prevent sunburn – and yes, you can still get sunburned in the fall!
  • Hats and long sleeves can also protect you from some of the sun’s rays.
  • Bug spray can help keep mosquitoes and ticks at bay.

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