Spring is finally here, and that means it’s time to trade in your winter gear for gardening gloves. Cleaning up the yard and getting ready for summer can be exciting, but it’s important to keep safety in mind. CSA Group, a leader in public safety, standards development and testing and certification, wants to help make yard upkeep enjoyable and safe.
“The flowers are starting to bloom, and it looks like the snow is finally behind us,” says Allison Hawkins, Manager, Corporate Affairs, CSA Group. “Cleaning up your yard and starting to plant the summer flowers makes us think of the warm weather ahead. When you start to tidy up make sure to take the proper steps to help do it safely.”
CSA Group offers the following safety tips to make springtime maintenance more manageable:
1. Avoid a shock: Yard work often includes 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 parts or a frayed cord. Make sure any extension cords that are used are designed and marked for outdoor use and are of a heavy enough gauge to carry the intended load.
2. Don’t get mowed down: While the ice might not have melted everywhere in the country just yet, your lawn may 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 – never let children under 12 operate a lawn mower,
- Wear clothing that provides some protection, including long pants, a long sleeved shirt and firmly tied shoes with non-slip soles and hard toes, and wear certified eye and ear protection,
- 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.
3. Check it out: Before heading up a ladder to clean out eaves troughs 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.4. Don’t get burned: 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 three metres or 10 feet from combustible materials. Before you use your heat lamp, inspect the parts for leaks, blockages or damage. If you are purchasing a new heater, make sure it is certified by an accredited organization such as CSA Group.
5. Pass inspection: 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 10 years in Canada and every 12 years in the United States. If yours has passed its best before date, recycle it properly.
About CSA Group
CSA Group is an independent organization dedicated to safety, social good and sustainability. Its knowledge and expertise encompass standards development; training and advisory solutions; global testing and certification services across key business areas including hazardous location and industrial, transportation, plumbing and construction, medical, safety and technology, appliances and gas, alternative energy, lighting and sustainability; as well as consumer product evaluation services. The CSA certification mark appears on billions of products worldwide. For more information about CSA Group visit www.csagroup.org.