Spring cleaning: Don't let safety slip

February 16, 2017

On your mark, get set…clean!iStock-518594868.jpg

With spring's arrival, your to-do list is likely full of chores, from giving your home a top-to-bottom buffing to decluttering closets and sprucing up your yard.

But before you spring into action, take a few moments to check out the safety tips below. Thousands of people in the U.S. get injured every year—sometimes seriously—tackling cleaning projects and yardwork.

To help stay injury-free, follow these precautions when:

Stepping on ladders. Always place your ladder on a firm, level and dry surface. Also: 

  • See that the ladder is fully opened before stepping on it.
  • Always have a buddy spot you—no going solo when climbing a ladder.
  • Be sure your ladder isn't near tree limbs or electrical wires when working outside.
  • Never stand on the ladder's top rung.
  • Don't lean too far to one side. To stay balanced—and avoid a nasty fall—be sure your belly button doesn't extend beyond the ladder's sides.

Mowing your yard. Give your lawn mower a spring tuneup. When using it for the first time after winter, have it serviced so that it's working correctly. Also:

  • Use a stick or broom handle—never your hands or feet—when removing debris from a blade.
  • Wear sturdy closed-toe shoes—never mow barefoot or in sandals or flip-flops.
  • Don't let kids ride on a lawn mower or play near a running one.

Lifting. If an object is too heavy or awkwardly shaped, don't try to lift it by yourself—get help. Also:

  • Always bend at your knees, tighten your stomach and lift with your leg muscles as you stand up. Don't bend at your waist.
  • Position yourself close to an object before picking it up.

Sources: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; American College of Emergency Physicians

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