Saturday, December 3, 2011

Hazards In the Yard

Trimming the two small trees in my front yard the last time this season, I used a hedge trimmer and a ladder in order to trim the tree tops. I was mindful of accidentally cutting the long extension cord during the work. I was really careful: every time I moved the ladder, I made sure I pulled the cord behind me. As I was making a finishing touch trim, I had to raise the trimmer above my head when I was near the top of the ladder, I did not check the cord and as I turned on the trimmer, it went off instantly! The cord was cut - somehow the cord moved to the front of the guard during the process of laying down the trimmer to move the ladder.

This must be the third or fourth time I cut the cord accidentally since I bought the hedge trimmer. Per cord manufactures' warning, I threw away the cord the previous times. This time I was thinking about reconnecting the cut wires and the cord. As Lily and I were about to tie the wires together and use duct tapes to insulate the wires, she noticed that the cord was still plugged to the power outlet! I sweated. She unplugged it, and went on to repair the cord.

There are plenty of hazards in yard work.

Finger Cut

The biggest accident I had in the yard involved the hedge trimmer as well, three years ago. I was working in the yard one Sunday trimming front yard bushes. As I was trimming the overgrown bush branches on the ground, I saw that the trimmer was really close to soak hose. I turned off the trimmer, and my left hand reached for the soak hose to move it away. I reached out too fast unfortunately. The cruising saw on the trimmer cut the flesh side of my ring finger tip - the cut was deep - two thirds of the finger thickness.

It was so quick, I did not feel any pain at all. There was no blood coming out either. The wounded area actually turned pale first. After 10 to 20 seconds, blood started to swell out! I called out to Lily - she used bandage to stop the bleeding and we rushed to emergency room ......

Six stitches, ~ $1000 out of pocket medical expense, three weeks of inconvenience in taking shower ....... lessons learned - wearing gloves, waiting for moving parts stop moving before work around it.

Poison Mists

The chemicals used in the yard for fertilization, weed control is definitely hazardous. We hire professional lawn service to to do fertilization and weed control for us. But I have to spray pesticide from time to time due to the roses in the front yard. Because the beautiful rose is an incubator for a plant disease called rose black. Rose black can cause rose and surrounding plants and trees to wither due to rose black infection.

When spraying pesticide, there will be vapor or pesticide mist in the air, which the worker may inhale. To minimize this hazard, I always wear face mask when spraying pesticide.

Fall and Falling/Flying objects

The only heavy lifting yard work I do is to thin the big trees in my yard.

The number one hazard in this work is fall from high places, either the top of a ladder or middle of the tree when I climb onto a tree to cut branches near the top of the the tree. The number two hazard is the falling tree branches.

Mindful of the falling big tree branches, I have not cut a few big branches I would like to cut. I had a few near misses in this type of work - from falling to hit by tree branches. A friend, who thinned tree during a weekend, hurt himself big time ..... one week stay in the hospital!

Yard Work Safety

Work efficiently is good but safety should be the top priority; slow down for safety

1. Don't rush when using any power tools; when moving up and down ladders.

2. Always wear gloves when work in the yard, especially the hand that does not hold a tool

3. Wear safety glasses when trimming trees and buses to prevent flying objects from damaging eyes

4. Wear face mask when applying fertilizers, spraying pesticide.

5. When checking/repairing electricity powered tools/gadgets/appliances...., turn off power, unplug power cords, and turn off main switch if necessary before proceeding

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