It might not feel like spring just yet but the season is upon us, and that means it’s time to trade in your mittens for gardening gloves. While many homeowners look forward to the big annual clean-up, outside yard work can be a daunting – and potentially risky – task. CSA Group, a leader in public safety, testing and certification, wants to help make backyard upkeep enjoyable and safe.
“It has been a tough winter for some Americans, and we expect people will be eager to get the garden ready when warm weather finally hits,” says Allison Hawkins, Manager, Corporate Affairs, CSA Group. “But if people don’t take the proper precautionary steps, injuries can easily happen when taking care of spring maintenance chores.”
CSA Group offers the following safety tips to make springtime maintenance more manageable:
- Mow on: While the ice might not have melted everywhere in the country just yet, your lawn will need to be trimmed soon. Now is the time to make sure your mower is ready. Look for the CSA Group certification mark on an electric lawnmower, which indicates it complies with the applicable standards. Make sure all safety guards and controls are in working order – specifically, and:
- Before mowing the lawn, clear away sticks, stones and other objects that could get caught in the machine or flung by the blades,
- Wear clothing that provides some protection, including long pants, a long sleeved shirt and firmly tied shoes with non-slip soles and hard toes,
- Shut off, unplug and engage safety devices on the mower before removing clogged grass clippings. Always use a stick or long-handled scraper to remove clogs; never your hands.
- Tackle topiary: Spring cleaning often includes the joy of trimming and shaping hedges and trees in the garden. Always inspect all power tools and cords before each use and, to avoid a shocking experience, never use a device that has a cracked casing, loose part or frayed cord. Make sure any extension cords that are used are designed and marked for outdoor use and are heavy enough gauge to carry the intended load.
- Heat’s on: For those cool spring nights, an outdoor heater keeps the deck toasty. Make sure that any fuel burning equipment is only lit outdoors and at least 10 feet from combustible materials. Before you use your heat lamp, inspect the parts for leaks, blockages or damage.
- Grill master: Before firing up the barbecue for the first time, carefully inspect burners and burner tubes for blockages that may have occurred over the winter season, including dirt, grease, insects, nests or rust build up. Remember, propane cylinders must be inspected and re-qualified every 12 years in the United States. If yours has passed its best before date, recycle it properly.
- Heads up: Before heading up a ladder to clean out gutters or wash windows, inspect your ladder to ensure nuts, bolts and joints are tight, the rungs are sturdy and the ladder isn’t damaged, bent or broken. For proper use, ladders should be set up at a 75-degree angle from the base.
About CSA Group
CSA Group is an independent, not-for-profit member-based association dedicated to advancing safety, sustainability and social good. We are an internationally-accredited standards development and testing & certification organization. We also provide consumer product evaluation and education & training services. Our broad range of knowledge and expertise includes: industrial equipment, plumbing & construction, electro-medical & healthcare, appliances & gas, alternative energy, lighting and sustainability. The CSA mark appears on billions of products around the world.
Manager, Corporate Affairs