Cold weather, warm layers, pumpkin spice latte—these are the images that often come to mind when you think about fall. However, to millions of homeowners across the country, the changing colors of trees and the dropping temperature are signals that, once again, it is time to accomplish a long list of chores to prepare the house for the coming months.
Although fall chores are routine for many people, it still comes with certain risks. In 2015, over 300,000 people had to visit the emergency department for injuries associated with yard equipment. Another 256,000 were hurt because of falls from ladders and stools.
During fall, homeowners are tasked to clean gutters and downspouts, give the chimney a sweep, remove debris from the roof, and trim tree branches that encroach on the home. All of these tasks require a person to climb up a ladder and perform labor-intensive chores. Other fall cleaning tasks involve using sharp tools such as a rake or harsh chemicals like bleach. If misused, these can cause serious harm.
Still, injuries from doing fall-related housework can be avoided. Here are some safety tips that homeowners should never forget.
When in Doubt, Call the Professionals
People often get hurt when they attempt an action that they have not done before. While there are plenty of tutorials and guides for all fall chores online, if you have no experience climbing up the roof to sweep the chimney, it is safer to let someone else, who knows what they are doing, take over. There are several businesses out there that will provide you with these services. While it is an additional expense, these professionals will likely do a more thorough job than you will.
However, remember to call early. These services become very busy throughout fall and winter.
Wear the Appropriate Clothing
You will perform a manual task. Your regular everyday attire will likely not suffice.
You can protect yourself from getting hurt while unclogging your gutters or raking leaves by wearing heavy gloves and sturdy footwear. Your shoes, in particular, have to have a grip so you will not slip while atop a ladder and roof or walking on the ground covered by fallen leaves. When using a rake or any yard tools, it is also advised to use steel-toe shoes to protect your feet in case it accidentally hits your foot, or you drop something heavy.
In addition, you should also wear masks when working with bleach and other chemical cleaning products. These products emit fumes that, if inhaled, can cause respiratory symptoms. Earplugs are necessary when working with loud motor-driven equipment to protect your hearing.
More importantly, you always have to wear goggles because so many things can go wrong that can injure the eye. Lawn equipment can throw debris flying around. Household chemical cleaners can also affect your sense of sight. Protective eyewear will effectively block these things.
Work Away From Children
Children are inquisitive creatures. They would want to be around and observe you while you work.
However, children should watch you work from afar. The dangers that come with doing fall chores can also hurt bystanders. Imagine children toying with chemical cleaners and motor equipment.
Even when they are playing around, unaware of the yard work, injuries can happen. They might knock down the ladder while you are removing debris from the gutter, causing you to fall from a height. The branches and twigs, while you are trimming the trees, can fall on them.
Stretch Before Starting
Chores are hard work. There is a lot of lifting heavy weights and moving things around, and reaching toward high spaces. You can gain injuries from working your body too hard.
So, to avoid getting hurt, try to do simple stretches to warm up major muscle groups, including the neck, wrists, torso, and hips. Stretching readies your body for various ranges of movements. It makes you more flexible and capable of working for more extended periods.
Working on chores can actually burn calories. Depending on your body weight, you can use over 100 calories from 30 minutes of raking and bagging fallen leaves on your lawn. You warm up and stretch before exercise; you should do the same before doing fall and winter chores. Doing so will not only prevent injuries but will also stop you from getting sore after a day of doing housework.
Homeowners have to accomplish specific tasks around fall to protect their houses and loved ones from the colder months ahead. However, there are safety and health risks that come with doing these routine chores. People should always be careful and take appropriate preventive measures when doing housework.