Before Heading Outside: Spring Safety and Injury Prevention Tips


April 3, 2013

As the spring season gets underway, the Fairfax County Risk Management Division encourages residents to avoid injuries by reviewing these safety tips before heading out to the yard:

  • Whether it is lifting a bag of mulch or a large flower pot, plan your lift and don’t be in a hurry. Bend at the knees, not the waist and keep your back straight. Lift with your legs and thigh muscles keeping the item close to you as you lift. Do not twist at the waist and always ask for help for items that are heavy or bulky.
  • Inspect lawn and garden power tools for frayed power cords and cracked or broken casings. If the item is damaged, have it repaired by a qualified technician or replace it. Thoroughly inspect tools prior to every use.  
  • Take care of your back during yard clean-up and planting. Sprains and strains can be avoided by varying tasks so that you’re not making the same movement over and over for long periods of time.
  • Before using the lawn mower for the first time this year, review the owner’s manual. Be sure you know how to stop the mower  in case of an emergency. Store gas in an appropriate UL approved container and store it away from your home.
  • Whether your ladder is brand new or it has seen a few spring cleanings, read the instructions and warning labels before using it. Remember to use 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 is leaning against.
  • Always wear appropriate protective clothing that is necessary for the task, such as gloves, long pants, eye protection and sturdy footwear. This is especially critical when handling pesticides and fertilizers. Always wash hands and clothing after handling these materials.
  • And don’t forget to wear sunscreen.

 For more information, listen to the spring safety tips podcast on The County Conversation or click on gardening safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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