Safety tips for spring yard cleanup

Updated May 3, 2024  |   Published April 5, 2024

It’s that time of the year. The sun is shining again, temperatures are rising, and it’s still light out after 5:00 pm. For homeowners, this also means it’s time to start cleaning up your yard for the springtime. While this brings excitement for many, it can also bring safety risks. Here, we highlight some easy preventative measures you can take to minimize injury for you and your loved ones.


General spring yard cleanup tips

  1. Know your equipment. Before operating a new lawn mower, push mower, weed whacker, or chainsaw, make sure to read the user’s manual. This way, you’re knowledgeable of the safety precautions you should take when using yard cleanup tools.
  2. Practice ladder safety. It’s important to make sure your ladder is secured safely on level ground. This way, any jostling of your ladder won’t result with you hanging without a way down, or falling to the ground. It’s a bad idea to set ladders on top of anything other than the ground (such as a box or other elevated surface). It’s a good idea to lock any doors, both to your house or a fence, that may swing open and hit your ladder.
  3. Watch your children carefully. We recommend that you keep small children indoors when you’re performing spring yard cleanup – especially when you’re running electrical tools such as a lawn mower or chainsaw. At a minimum, don’t allow children under 12 to run a push mower or children under 16 to operate a driving lawn mower. It’s also a bad idea to take your children on rides with a riding mower.
  4. Check your extension cords. Look for cracks and seal them with electrical tape. If you find frayed wires, replace the cord completely. Don’t run extension cords through puddles. Keep them off any wet surfaces.
  5. Protect your body. Wearing protective gear will help you when your lawnmower hits rocks, sticks, or other items that can quickly turn into a projectile. Wearing long pants and non-slip, closed-toe shoes is also helpful. Sunglasses or goggles will help protect your eyes, and ear plugs or headphones (especially pairs with noise cancellation) can help minimize damage to your ears.
  6. Store tools and materials in a safe place. Many injuries are caused by stepping or landing on simple tools like shovels or rakes. Don’t use these tools when children are outside. Store them in safe areas away from children when not in use. Make sure to seal bags and store them at a height where children can’t reach them.
  7. Don’t dig without approval. It’s crucial that you call your local utility companies before you dig in your yard. There may be gas, electrical, or sewer lines below your property. If you hit them, the results can be hazardous and expensive – something you don’t want to be responsible for.
  8. Be mindful of electricity. When you’re not using electrical tools, unplug them. Make sure tools are turned off before you plug them in for use to avoid an electrical surge. Lastly, make sure to unplug and turn off equipment or machinery before you attempt to fix it.
  9. Be knowledgeable about weed removal. Before attempting to remove weeds, make sure you and your children know what poison ivy, sumac, oak, and similar toxic plants look like. It’s also a good idea to figure out how to treat rashes that you may get from any of these plants so you’re not scrambling after the fact.
  10. Don’t do yard work under the influence. Regardless of whether it’s alcohol or marijuana, it is never a good idea to do yard work, and especially operate machinery, under the influence.


Safety tips for mowers

  1. Be careful when mowing on an incline. It’s best to refer to your owner’s manual to determine how steep an incline your mower can handle. If you’re operating a riding mower, drive it up and down slopes instead of sideways. This way you’ll mitigate the risk of your lawnmower tipping over and trapping you under it. With a push mower, the opposite is recommended. It’s easier to control a push mower when you’re not pushing it up an incline or down a hill.
  2. Beware of stray branches. If one gets in your way, especially when you use a push mower, make sure to release the mower’s bail lever before bending over to pick it up. That way, you’re mitigating the risk of the blade being able to cut your fingers.
  3. Avoid mowing the grass when it’s wet. Whether it’s just a little wet, or there was a massive rainstorm the previous day, it’s best to wait until the grass is dry to mow to avoid slipping.


Safety tips for power trimmers and clippers

  1. Be wary of gas use. If you’re using a gas trimmer, it’s best to start it outside, instead of inside your shed or garage. If it’s an enclosed space, the carbon monoxide emissions can be lethal.
  2. Start on solid ground. When you’re pulling the cord of a trimmer to start it, make sure both you and the trimmer are on solid ground. This will help keep you stable when exerting force to start the tool.
  3. Mind the cord. If you’re using a corded electric trimmer, make sure to keep the cord out of the way, so you don’t trip over it. Also, make sure to be mindful of where the cord is at in relation to your power trimmer, so you don’t accidentally slice it.
  4. Stay grounded. Avoid using electric trimmers on elevated surfaces so that you don’t lose your balance. Don’t bring the cutting head above your waist for the same reason.
  5. Cut away from yourself. To avoid getting hit by projectile weeds or brush, it’s best to cut away from yourself.


Safety tips for pressure washers

  1. Gear up. Putting on protective gear, such as goggles, long pants, and closed-toe footwear, can help keep you from getting hurt.
  2. Stand on solid ground. Don’t use a pressure washer while standing on a ladder, no matter how tempting it is to clean that one hard-to-reach spot. Pulling the trigger can cause recoil that can throw you off balance.
  3. Know your surroundings. Avoid pointing the nozzle in random directions unless you have already cleared the area.
  4. Be extra careful on wet surfaces. This can prevent you from slipping when surfaces get too slippery.
  5. Turn off the machine before making changes. If your machine comes with extra tips, turn the machine off and unplug it before swapping them out to ensure it doesn’t turn on randomly. When you turn it off, it’s a good idea to drain the excess water too, which only takes a few moments.


Safety tips for chainsaws

  1. Safety check. Before using the saw, check to make sure that all parts are in order, and are working as they should be. The more thorough you are with this, the less risk of injury down the line.
  2. Be on solid ground. Just like using other tools with a pull cord, standing on solid ground before you start prevents you from slipping or falling.
  3. Avoid using the tip of the chain and bar. This is the part of the saw that has the most kickback when you use it.
  4. Know your limits. Only saw tree limbs that are accessible from the ground. Don’t saw on a ladder and avoid using the saw above your shoulders for any reason. It can easily throw you off balance.
  5. Don’t touch live wires. After a nasty New England storm, trees may fall. Don’t touch or go near any fallen power lines to cut down and remove trees until power companies give the go-ahead. Live power lines can be lethal.


Make sure you’re covered

In the event of an accident, you can have peace of mind knowing you and your house are covered from any damage that occurs around your yard this year. At WebFirst Insurance, we work with a variety of carriers to make sure your assets are properly covered. Click below to get a quote today.

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