How to Work Safely in Your Yard this Spring

Image credit: Woodleywonderworks / Flickr Creative Commons
Image credit: Woodleywonderworks/Flickr Creative Commons

It doesn’t take much to encourage us to get outdoors and start working in the garden. However you’re planning to get ready for summer entertaining, use these tips to help you work safely in your yard this spring.

Using a Ladder

Whether you’re cleaning the windows, washing the siding or trimming trees, you’ll probably need a ladder. Choose the right type for the task at hand and be aware of its maximum weight capacity.

Before using the ladder, check to see if it’s in good condition. Never set up a ladder on unstable or uneven surfaces. Climb only as far as the fourth rung from the top of a leaning or extension ladder.

If the house is two or more storeys, make sure the ladder is tall enough for you to stand on it without having to reach.

Trimming Trees

The best time to trim trees and prune shrubs is in winter when they’re not growing (in a dormant state). However, if it’s necessary in the spring to trim back dead branches or prune trees and shrubs that have become unruly, make sure:

  • tools and power tools are in good working order and you are using them properly
  • no one (including Fido and Fluffy) is under the tree being trimmed
  • wherever possible the cut branch is caught rather than allowed to fall freely to the ground

Roof and Gutters

Don’t walk on a roof if you’re not sure what condition it’s in or if it is wet. Do a visual inspection from the ground with binoculars or from on top of a ladder. If you do need to climb on the roof, avoid doing so in stormy or very windy weather.

When cleaning gutters, gather together everything you’ll need – a limited number of supplies can be put in a pail or trash bag and then hooked on to the ladder. This will reduce the number of trips you’ll have to make.

Choose the Right Gear

Wear closed toe shoes or work boots when climbing a ladder, doing any kind of yard work or lifting boxes, equipment, etc.

Wear gloves to protect your hands from germs, cuts and scratches.

Use protective eyewear such as safety goggles or sunglasses to keep dirt, debris and splashing liquids away from your eyes.

Don’t forget sunscreen and hats – UV rays are still an issue even when there’s cloud cover.