The calendar has turned to April, the weather (hopefully) begins to turn warmer, and after being cooped up indoors for much of the winter, most of us become afflicted with a common condition. Spring Fever.
As we start to see more green on the trees and buds peeking up through the ground, many of us are itching to ditch the winter coats and boots and get outside in the backyard or head to the local park or green space. Before you run outdoors with abandon, however, take precaution to keep your family safe while enjoying the rising temperatures. Keep these lawn and garden safety tips in mind when you head out to do your landscaping, gardening or other outdoor activity.
Dress appropriately for gardening or yard work. Wear gardening gloves to prevent blisters and to help protect your hands from the chemicals in fertilizers and pesticides, in addition to bacteria or fungi found in the dirt and sharp tools.
Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts to avoid injury from objects like rocks, sticks or thorns, as well as allergens like poison ivy. Clothes should be close-fitting to the body and jewelry should be left inside the house to avoid getting caught in moving parts. Choose shoes that are sturdy, with slip-resistant soles and closed toes.
If you’re working around dust or chemicals, wear protective eyewear and a nose and mouth mask to avoid inhalation and prevent allergy or asthma attacks.
Stretch, bend and lift.
Just as you would before any other physical activity, give your body time to warm up and take a few deep stretches before beginning gardening or yard work. Particularly for those gardening with or without a green thumb, kneel rather than bend to prevent back strain. Consider wearing kneepads for additional comfort and protection. If lifting heavy items, like large plants, tools or machinery, engage your legs and not your back, and carry items close to your body to prevent injury.
Block the sun.
Apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 before going outside to provide ultraviolet protection, and be sure to reapply every 90 minutes, or sooner if you’re sweating or if you get wet. Wear a wide-brimmed hat for additional protection on your face, head, ears and neck. Don’t forget to protect your eyes with sunglasses as well. And remember, between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. is the most hazardous period for ultraviolet exposure from the sun, so take extra care during these times, and give yourself plenty of breaks in the shade.
Unfortunately, the warmer weather often brings unwanted insects, some which can cause irritation or disease. Particularly if you’re in or near wooded areas, check your clothes and body for ticks, which can cause several diseases. Prevent ticks and other pests, like mosquitos, by applying a repellent when working outdoors or in infested areas.
Take care with machinery and chemicals.
Demonstrate caution when using machinery, such as a lawnmower, edger or wood chipper. Before starting any machinery, ensure the area is clear of debris, such as sticks, rocks or trash, which can cause injury or damage the equipment. Always make sure safety devices are in place and working properly before beginning any work.
Keep children supervised at all times, and never allow a child to operate machinery. If allowing teenagers to help with the lawn and garden, make sure they have adequate strength and maturity to do so safely, and always have adult supervision.
Unplug all tools and equipment when not in use, and before making any adjustments or repairs, and never use them in wet conditions. Ensure any equipment if properly stored when not in use, never left out in the open. Be sure that any extension cords are approved for outdoor use and in good condition.
When using chemicals in the garden or on your lawn, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and keep them stored in a locked, ventilated area that is out of reach of children. Take care when handling gasoline for the lawn mower or other equipment. Never fill tanks when machinery is on, and never smoke or use any type of flame near the gasoline-powered equipment.
Finally, clean up and put away any equipment when not in use. Wrap up and hang or store hoses to avoid trips, lay rakes with tines down, and lay ladders on their sides.
When outside in the heat and sun, stave off any risk of heat stroke or dehydration. In addition to being properly outfitted for any outdoor job, it’s important to remain hydrated. Drink plenty of water and other fluids. Though a cold one may seem enticing on a hot, sunny day, keep alcohol consumption to a minimum while in the sun, as this can increase the risk of dehydration.
As hard as we try to prevent them, accidents do happen. And when they do, you will want to be sure you or your family have immediate access to first aid. Get your first aid kit stocked and keep emergency numbers someplace handy. Let SOS Technologies get you prepared for lawn and garden weather by getting your first aid needs covered. Check out our First Aid Supplies Order Form where you’ll find antiseptics, adhesives, and bandages, burn treatments and even a Vehicle First Aid Kit for those summer road trips.
Get equipped for outdoor safety now and enjoy spring and summer worry-free. Get in touch with the safety consultants at SOS Technologies at 888.705.6100 or email@example.com. It’s a Matter of Life and Life.