Posted by Michael Barber, November 05, 2013 (last updated on June 24, 2019)
With fall, comes raking tree leaves, cleaning out gutters, and gathering your garden fall harvest fruits and vegetables. Although these sound like pretty safe chores, they often present injuries. Here, learn four ways to stay safe while working tackling fall yard work.
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Cleaning Out Gutters
Tree leaves and other debris from fall windy days clog gutters and in the fall, it's time to clean them out. In almost all homes the gutters are not reachable without a ladder and using a ladder the correct way is imperative to avoid injuries. Ladders also come with warnings, so follow them to the letter and never attempt to clean out gutters alone. Use the buddy system in the event of a fall which can cause bruised or broken bones.
Always wear gloves when cleaning out gutters as some biting insects may also be hiding in them just waiting to bite. If you do fall while cleaning gutters, be sure you know where the nearest urgent care center is to obtain medical treatment for bruises, scrapes, cuts, or broken bones.
Raking Tree Leaves
This chore is often favored by parents to pass along to children, however, raking can be dangerous if not supervised. Even adults can get injured if raking leaves is not done properly. Make sure:
- Rakes are not broken and handles aren't cracked.
- If you store rakes on a ceiling shelf, never pull them down while standing on the ground so use a step stool or ladder.
- Instruct everyone on the job how raking should be completed by holding the rake close to your side and using a short sweeping motion.
- Never force the rake way out in front of you and bend to pull the leaves in a pile because this can cause a back injury.
- Make sure proper eyewear (goggles) are worn by all.
- Keep very young children away from plastic garbage bags to prevent suffocation.
- Wear gloves to keep your hands protected from insect, bugs or sharp twigs.
- Always work as a team.
If someone does get injured while leaf raking, head to one of the closest urgent care locations for medical attention.
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Fall Gardening Dangers
Heading to the garden to gather your fall harvest and readying it for winter also poses some possible injuries. Be sure to:
- Wear gardening gloves.
- Use the right gardening tools for the job and don't improvise.
- When picking vegetables, make sure you bend at the knees to avoid back injuries or use a gardening stool or knee pad. Do bend your knees when picking up full baskets of food.
- When fall fruits like lemons are ready to pick, again use the buddy system and proper ladder skills to pick tree fruits.
- Don't leave tools and other gardening tools lying around where you could step on them.
- If you live in an area where deer ticks are prevalent, use insect repellent that contains DEET.
- Pick up debris and weeds between each section of your garden and dispose of it so it will prevent weeds from overflowing.
When tending to your fall garden, always make sure you are careful with tools and respect the nature around you including spider webs, beetles and insects. If you're bit, head to a walk-in clinic for medical treatment.
Fall may be the last time you mow your lawn until spring arrives and the grass begins to grow again. Riding lawnmowers, however, are not toys and should not be treated as such. Never allow teens or tweens that don't know how to operate these machines mow a lawn by themselves. In fact, this chore is best left for the adults if using a riding lawnmower.
If using a push-type of lawnmower, electric or gas powered, these also require adult supervision to prevent cuts, scrapes, falls, or injuries from improper use.
Yard chores in the fall are a must-do but everyone needs to be sensible when performing these tasks to prevent injuries.