There are a number of tools and kinds of machinery used when performing gardening tasks, lawn care maintenance and landscaping design. Lawn mowers are perfect examples of equipment we use on a regular basis, but maybe aren’t as safe as we should be when handling them.
Lawn mowers can be quite large and heavy, and with powerful spinning blades at work right underneath, safety is a real issue. Make sure to always wear shoes while mowing the lawn, and avoid mowing over areas with rocks, large sticks, or discarded items that can get caught in the blades and fly out of the side of the mower. Likewise, remember that mowing uphill can be very dangerous, because the mower could tip over or you could lose traction, and the machine could come toppling down. Do not mow the grass on deep slopes if the terrain is wet and could cause you to slip, and when you do mow on a sloped area, try to do so diagonally.
The most dangerous part of the lawn mower is the fact that there are rotating blades underneath. Make it a point to never attempt to handle them unless the mower is off and the spark plug is removed. This will ensure that the mower will not inadvertently turn back on. When handling the blades for removal or replacement, wear thick gloves to avoid getting cut. If you simply need to dislodge debris from underneath the mower, use the handle of a broom or rake to knock it from the blades, instead of your hands.
From fertilizers and weed killers to products meant to prevent disease and insects, many lawn care chemicals have the potential to do harm. This is because the ingredients in lawn care products are meant to be used as a poison, and this poison can be toxic to a wide range of living organisms. Many pesticides today have been linked with cancer, reproductive and birth defects, liver damage, kidney damage, and neurotoxicity when handled inappropriately or exposed to people for extended periods of time. In addition, these pesticides also have a risk of seeping into drinking water sources, as well as becoming toxic to aquatic organisms, birds, and beneficial insects.
In order to keep your family, pets, the environment and yourself safe, always read into the products you use on your lawn. This means that at the very least, read the packaging of your fertilizers, conditioners and pesticides and look for any risks associated with spreading it on your lawn. You may even feel more comfortable doing online research into studied linking that particular brand to health problems. Luckily, organic options are widely available and can be both environmentally-friendly as well as safe for pets and children. Although high-quality organic pesticides can be more expensive than other kinds, remember that along with an effective product, you will be receiving a more safe outdoor space and peace of mind.
Although being outside and moving is generally great for the body and exercises all kinds of muscles, homeowners working on their property need to understand that certain situations can be risky for hard labor. When working in direct sunlight or hot weather for an extended period of time, there is a risk for heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Heat exhaustion is caused by water or salt depletion in the body, and symptoms include confusion, dark-colored urine, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, profuse sweating, nausea and more.
Although heat exhaustion is an uncomfortable condition and can cause fainting, the treatment is to simply replenish your body with what it lacks. This means lying down and relaxing in a cool place, as well as drinking plenty of water. Many recommend drinking either Gatorade or Pedialyte along with water, as these two beverages have electrolytes that can replace the salt your body has lost. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can become heat stroke, which is much more serious and sometimes fatal. The symptoms of heat stroke are similar to that of its predecessor, but are more intense and can also include vomiting, seizures, disorientation, staggering, throbbing headaches and unconsciousness. If you or someone you know is suffering from a heat illness and isn’t getting better through drinking fluids and cooling down, it’s important to take the matter seriously and consider calling 911 or making a trip to the hospital.
Another hazard of working in the sun is sunburn. Your skin is only able to take so much direct sunlight, so it’s important to apply sun screen with a high SPF if you know you’re going to be working outside for a while. Other ways to avoid sunburn include not working outdoors during the sun’s peak hours and covering your skin with light, breathable clothing. Sunburn can be a painful condition, but is actually quite common, as about 70% of children and 33% of adults admit to having sunburned skin in the past year.