Yard Safety Tips

A list of yard safety tips can never be complete. No one can warn us against unforeseeable circumstances, nor are even the most cautious of us immune to Murphy’s Law. Besides, what one person regards as an “obvious” danger will catch another quite unawares. When all is said and done, the best tips are those that are broadest in nature, those whose aim is to inform our overall approach with a healthy trepidation.

In other words, your best defense against injury is common sense

  • Follow directions that come with equipment and other products. This can mean reading the dreaded manual; I sympathize with you!
  • Learn to ask questions. For instance, when you buy something at the hardware store, ask the salesperson for specific safety tips regarding the use of the product.
  • Assess the danger potential of an action before you take it, because it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  • Don’t be in a big hurry! It’s better not to get your yard chores done than to risk injury.
  • Even if the task at hand is something as ho-hum as snow shoveling, your first step should be to stretch your muscles.

With the broadest of yard safety tips out of the way, let’s move on to the main purpose of this article: to provide a list of some of the most useful yard safety tips of a more specific nature. Incomplete or not, this list could save you considerable anguish — so bookmark it and keep it handy!

Yard Safety Tips Involving Water:

  • Don’t leave small children unattended around open water featuressuch as garden ponds.
  • Make sure swimming pools are covered when not in use if you have small children.
  • In landscaping around swimming pools, always put safety first.
  • Unless you want to try using Bt or mosquitofish to kill mosquito larvae, I suggest installing a pump in water features. In this age of West Nile virus, it’s important to keep the water moving, since mosquito larvae breed in standing water.
  • Installing landscape lighting is advisable in general, but especially around water features, which present a particular danger at night.
  • Roll up garden hoses properly after use so they don’t become tripping hazards.

Yard Safety Tips Involving Rock and Cement:

Safety Items for Mixing Cement:

  • Gloves
  • Mask
  • Safety glasses (goggles)

Safety Items for Moving Heavy Rocks:

  • Gloves
  • Back brace
  • Ball cart

For any work involving digging, check with local utilities first as to the whereabouts of cables, etc. In the U.S., there is now an easy way to check: just ring the “Call Before You Dig” number.

Yard Safety Tips for Using Axes and Hatchets

When wielding an axe or hatchet, as in my project on providing winter protection for shrubs, keep these yard safety tips in mind:

  • Wear steel-toed boots, heavy gloves, tight-fitting clothing (long pants and a long-sleeved shirt) and safety glasses.
  • Make sure the blade is sharp. Ironically, dull blades make staying safe around these tools more difficult than do sharp blades.
  • Chop so that the arc of your swing won’t end up coming back in the direction of your body.
  • As with chainsaws, it’s best not to use axes and hatchets until someone well-versed in their use has personally instructed you.

Yard Safety Tips for Using Chain Saws and Hedgers:

The key to operating chain saws and hedge trimmers safely is to clear obstructions out of the way prior to starting up the engine, maintain your balance and stay focused on what you’re doing. Chain saws, in particular, can be incredibly dangerous devices. The advice given below regarding the use of chain saws should be considered just a beginning in informing yourself about how to operate a chain saw safely. Seek hands-on guidance from someone in the know.

What to Wear

  • Gloves
  • Earplugs
  • Safety glasses
  • Steel-toed boots
  • Tight-fitting clothing (long pants and a long-sleeved shirt)
  • Helmet, when performing chainsaw work on large trees

Operating Chain Saws and Hedgers Safely

  • Plant both feet firmly on the ground when cutting.
  • Avoid making cuts while standing on a ladder: leave the aerial acrobatics to tree services.
  • Be aware of your center of gravity: don’t overreach.
  • You shouldn’t be raising the machine up above shoulder level; doing so would cause instability.
  • Shut off the engine prior to removing branches stuck in the teeth of your machine.
  • With chain saws, always be conscious of the possibility of kickback.