How to stay safe when doing yard work

Last year nearly 262,000 people visited the ER with injuries associated with yard work.

ByNydia Han and Heather Grubola via WPVI logo
Saturday, August 6, 2022
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Sprucing up your yard and home in the summer can be satisfying, but it can also be dangerous. Here are some tips to keep you safe.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Sprucing up your yard and home in the summer can be satisfying, but it can also be dangerous.

Last year nearly 262,000 people visited the ER with injuries associated with yard work, including mowing, cutting branches, or power washing.

Consumer Reports has some safety tips to keep in mind for all ages.

"Lawn mowers accounted for an estimated 70,000 injuries last year. A mower blade rotates thousands of times a minute, and can turn a rock or dog toy into a dangerous projectile," said Consumer Reports Home Editor Dan Wroclawski.

So, before you mow, survey the area for rocks and branches. Protect yourself with closed shoes, and long pants. When mowing hills, move across the slope rather than up and down; the mower will be easier to control.

"Be careful when using a riding mower over uneven terrain. Many people are killed by the mower tipping over onto the driver. So unlike hand mowers, riding mowers should always move up and down slopes, not across. And never allow a child to ride with you," Wroclawski said.

Last year, there were 137,000 emergency room visits associated with ladders. So, before you climb, check your ladder for loose parts, sharp edges or bent rungs then place it safely.

"Set your ladder on level ground, with the base 12-inches from the wall for every 4 feet that the ladder reaches. The ladder should also extend 3 feet past your roof or workspace," Wroclawski said.

When climbing, always keep both hands on the rails, and step up the center of the ladder.

Pressure washing is super satisfying but it can also be dangerous. Stay aware of your surroundings wandering children or pets can be seriously injured if they get in the way of the powerful spray. And CR recommends tossing the red, "zero," spray tip that may come with your washer. It's more dangerous than useful.

One more tip hedge trimmers are great for bushes and shrubs, but you should always keep your feet on the ground when working with them. For tall hedges consider an extension model instead of working from a ladder.