DIY Landscaping: Safety First
Spring and summer are popular and busy seasons for landscaping. After being forced indoors for the winter, many gardening enthusiasts jump at the chance to do yard work, gardening and landscaping. Professional landscaping, although attractive to look at, can be costly. DIY Landscaping has become more popular as many people escape their busy “9-5 work week” by planting flowers, mowing the lawn, trimming shrubs, and building stone walls, paths and ponds. Building your own backyard sanctuary can have many mental benefits and can provide a good physical workout, but it is always important to be safe while landscaping. The same type of injuries and accidents can take place in the home as on a work site. In fact, hobbyists or beginners may be more at risk for accidents as they may have less experience with equipment and/or safety regulations.
Common Injuries and Accidents in Landscaping
Landscaping can be a fulfilling job with pleasing results, but it can also be a dangerous occupation or hobby if proper safety precautions are not taken. Professional landscapers are at risk for various work-related injuries and accidents every day. A person, fixing up their yard in the spring, is at risk of similar injuries. Home accidents and construction accidents can be very similar in nature. The most common accidents that occur in a landscaping setting include, but are not limited to:
- Cuts and Amputations due to tools, saws, wood chippers, lawn mowers
- Electric Shock due to contact with high wires, buried cables, etc.
- Heat and Cold Stress (i.e. Heat stroke)
- Sprains and Strains in back, wrist, ankles from improper lifting, pushing physical limitation
- Hearing or Vision damage due to improper eye or ear wear
- Chemical Burns/Inhalation from Pesticides and other chemicals
- Slips, Trips and Falls
The potential dangers of a landscaping job should not deter someone from enjoying it, but being aware of the dangers and following a few safety tips will greatly improve the chances of an error free landscaping job. Safety Tips vary from what clothing to wear to proper equipment usage and even to what to do if you find an animal. Here are some safety tips that would be most helpful to DIY landscapers:
- Wear the Right Clothing for the Job: Depending on the task, it’s best to wear light, well-fitted clothing to protect you from debris, sun, and other irritants
- Wear Sunscreen, Sunglasses, and Stay Hydrated: Even on a “perfect” day, it’s easy to become overcome by the sun and get dehydrated
- Use the right tool for the job. Before using, make sure it works and is sharpened, etc.
- Stand and work in ergonomic positions. Avoid awkward postures and poor lifting stances
- When working with others, make sure you know where they are at ALL times to avoid a multi-person accident
- Use common sense when using tools, ladders, and other implements: For example, if you have not used a piece of machinery (like a rented tiller) make sure you know how it works. When using a ladder, use the proper size and do not over reach.
DIY Landscaping: Don’t become another accident statistic
Given the right tools, time, energy and precautions, a DIY landscaper can turn their yard into a one-of-a-kind place of beauty. You don’t need to visit a park or arboretum to appreciate and admire well-crafted landscaping. Do It Yourself!
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