How to (Literally) Survive Yard Work

Suburban backyards can spell calamity, if you're not careful.

Living Green
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There are so many creative ways to meet serious injury while working in the yard. Here are the most popular.

Fall Off a Ladder

Each year, there are more than 164,000 emergency room injuries relating to ladders, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. To avoid breaking a leg or meeting an early demise, the CPSC suggests these pointers.

Enjoy Yard Work?

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  • Read the load rating on the ladder and don't exceed it—and only one person on a ladder at a time.
  • Use a ladder that's the proper length for the job (a minimum of three feet should extend over the roofline or working surface). Don't stand on the three top rungs of a straight, single, or extension ladder.
  • All ladders should be set up at about a 75-degree angle.
  • Be sure all locks on extension ladders are properly engaged.
  • The ground under the ladder should be level and firm. It's good practice to have a helper hold the bottom of the ladder.
  • Keep your body centered between the rails of the ladder at all times. Do not lean too far to the side while working.

Pesticide Poisoning

If you choose to use pesticides in your quest for an emerald green lawn or to fight garden munchers, the Environmental Protection Agency suggests following these guidelines to avoid hurting yourself, family members, and the environment.

  • Read the label before using any product. Labels explain how to use and store a product safely, and offer first aid instructions.
  • Always keep products in their original containers with their original labels so you have access to instructions.
  • Never apply product where it could run into ponds, creeks, or other water supplies.
  • Take directions about wearing gloves, masks, or protective clothing seriously.

Lose a Finger or Toe

Did you know that 400,000 poor souls find themselves in the emergency room each year because of chainsaws, lawn mowers, and hedge trimmers? To avoid your own horror movie massacre, respect these power tools.

  • Wear closed-toe shoes, eye protection, and close-fitting clothes while mowing the lawn.
  • Always clear stones, metal, and sticks off the lawn before using a mower.
  • Wear heavy gloves if you're dealing with blades from weed and hedge-trimming equipment.

Shock or Electrocution

No one likes getting zapped. It's not a good way to go, for sure.

  • Never work with electric power tools in wet or damp conditions, and never stand barefoot in wet grass while handling electric tools.
  • Inspect extension cords for wear and tear. Only use exterior extension cords for outside use.
  • Don't wear jewelry while handling electrical tools.
  • Trimming trees? Never use a ladder in the vicinity of power lines, electrical equipment, or live electric wires.
  • Consider solar lighting for landscaping and decorative lighting.

Ryan Homes Tip: Don't ever let a child ride or operate a riding mower, even if the child is supervised.