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Summer Hand Safety Tips

Posted on November 8, 2022 in Hand by Dr. Steven Kronlage

It’s that time of year: the kids are getting out of school, the summer heat is on full blast, and the list of projects around the house starts to grow weekly. Whether you are cleaning up your front yard landscaping, building a new garden bed of fresh veggies, or knocking out one of the many projects on the home improvement list, safety is critical for starting any new DIY adventure! As we enter June and observe National Safety Month, this post identifies the most common injuries we see at Florida Bone & Joint Specialists during lawn care and maintenance, gardening and home DIY projects and provides some practical tips to help keep your hands injury-free. 

Lawn Care & Maintenance

In 2017, a U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission study indicated that over 253,000 people were treated for an injury resulting from a lawnmower. Children under 19 years old accounted for more than 10,000 of those injuries. Typical injuries included cuts, burns, missile objects (items launched from blades) and amputations. Below are a few essential safety tips for avoiding injury when using a power tool such as a lawnmower:

  • Read and understand the user manual before operating.
  • Do not remove, alter, or change your lawnmower’s guards, shields or switches. 
  • Add fuel before turning the engine on or allow it to cool completely if it has been in use. 
  • Do not leave the lawnmower running unattended. 
  • Do not touch the engine or blade area during or immediately after use, as surfaces may be scorching to unprotected skin. 
  • Dress appropriately in proper protective gear, such as gloves, goggles, pants and close-toed shoes. 
  • Survey the surrounding area the make sure it is free of debris and objects that could get lodged inside the machine or launched out of it. 
  • Children under the age of 12 should not operate, ride on, or play in the vicinity of a lawnmower. 

Gardening 

In most cases, gardening can be relaxing and appear to be a somewhat safer task. However, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 400,000 garden tool-related accidents happen yearly. To help avoid injury this season, keep the following gardening safety tips in mind: 

  • Always use the proper tools for the tasks you are performing.
  • Protect yourself by wearing the appropriate gloves, goggles, and clothing.
  • Be aware that any chemicals or pesticides you may be using do not contact your skin. 
  • Maintain proper planting posture by switching up movements to ensure your muscles and hands aren’t straining over a particular activity for too long. 

Home DIY Projects 

DIY projects such as building, painting, or restoring things around the home typically involve essential tools like a ladder or table saw. Although these tools can help knock out more significant items on the list, they are also prone to causing serious injury if not used properly. To avoid injury when completing your DIY home project, consider these injury prevention tips: 

Ladders: Ladders come in all shapes and sizes, allowing them to be used for various projects both indoors and outdoors. They are designed to reach high areas and hold different weight amounts. Injuries caused by a ladder typically include; falling, broken bones, sprains of the wrists or ankles, head injury, etc. If you are injured by using a ladder, move slowly and seek medical attention if necessary. When operating a ladder, consider the following: 

  • Identify the height of your project, picking a ladder that supports your balance while reaching or stepping up.
  • Do not overload the ladder with more weight than it can handle. 
  • Check your ladder for any damage, bends, or loose screws.
  • Make sure the surfaces of the steps are clean and dry of any moisture or grease before use. 
  • Survey the ground beneath, making sure the foundation is stable and flat for all legs of the ladder to rest on. 

  • Always look forward, paying attention to the blade proximity and surface you are cutting. 
  • Do not wear loose clothing or jewelry. 
  • Keep fingers away from the work surface if not operating the machine. 
  • Wear proper protective gear such as gloves and goggles to avoid flyaway material. 
  • Lower the table saw blade below the table top when finished.        

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