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Outdoor Spring Cleaning

April 3, 2017

Lawn Mower

Ah, springtime. Trees are budding, the birds are chirping and you suddenly realize the lawn needs mowing, the garden needs weeding and well, the house could use a fresh coat of paint. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind before you get started on your chores!

Lawn Mowing Safety

  • When pulling out the mower for the first time this year, it's a good idea to refresh your memory by reading the owner's manual. Be sure you know how to stop the machine in case of an emergency.
  • If you have a gasoline-powered mower, store the gas in a UL Classified safety can.
  • Always start your mower outdoors. Never operate it where carbon monoxide can collect, such as in a closed garage, storage shed or basement.
  • Pick up all foreign objects before you start mowing. Types of items that can adversely affect your mower are rocks, branches and kids toys.
  • Always wear closed shoes and long pants while mowing.
  • Don't allow children or pets to play in the yard while you are mowing.

Power Tools and Garden Appliances

  • Never carry a power tool by the cord or yank a power cord form a receptacle. When disconnecting the cord, always grasp the plug, not the wires. Keep cords away from heat, oil and sharp edges.
  • When you're through with power tools and garden appliances, store them away from water sources to avoid electrical shock. Never use them in rain.
  • If you purchase new tools, this spring, look for the UL mark, which means representative samples of the product have been tested against stringent safety standards for fire, electric shock and other safety hazards.

Ladder Safety

  • Thousands of injuries occur with the use of gardening tools every year. Many more injuries occur as the result of handling a ladder improperly. Know your limits and remember, some light stretching can go a long way!
  • Whether your ladder is new or has seen a few spring cleanings, read the instructions and warning labels before using it. They'll help you choose, the right ladder for the job and describe ladder height and weight limits.
  • Remember the 4 - to - 1 rule. For every four feet of ladder height, the bottom of the ladder should be one foot away from the wall or object it's leaning against.
  • Keep your ladder out of uneven flower or mulch beds. It's best to find flat, even ground.
  • Don't climb higher than the second rung on stepladders or the third rung on straight or extension ladders.
  • Never leave ladders unattended - kids love to climb!

Following these simple but important tips can keep accidents at bay and ensure you'll be able to enjoy the results of your spring cleaning efforts!

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