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Spring fix-up can be hazardous to your health

Emergency rooms are packed on weekends with victims of home handyman mishaps

Photo © Photographee.eu - Fotolia
Deciding to tackle the yard work now that the weather is breaking can be dangerous. The emergency room is filled on weekends with people getting poked in the eye from stepping on a rake, lawn mowers running over feet and people somehow ingesting pesticides.

Some of the most common injuries -- about 170,000 -- involve ladders. It seems pretty easy to use a ladder; you just climb up. But there are some safety precautions you might want to follow to avoid breaking your neck.

Before you get on your ladder examine it for any loose or broken areas. Always place the ladder on a level, stable surface before using it. The ladder must be placed 1 foot away from the nearest wall for every 4 feet of height. Don’t climb higher than the second rung on a stepladder or the third rung on an extension ladder.

Pocket knives can be dangerous. Some simple rules to follow with a knife. Sharper is better than dull because it requires less force. Always cut away from yourself when using a knife. Set the knife down before going to grab that other tool.  Don’t use a knife for any other task than cutting, slicing, dicing or chopping. Knives are not for prying or any other use that could cause injury.

Nail guns

Nailing something with a nail gun, missing the wood and nailing your hand is extremely painful. When using a nail gun, concentrate. One slip and your palm can be nailed to the wood. In incidents where accidental contact caused an injury, more than 80 percent of the time the operator had a finger on the trigger. Consumer nail-gun injuries — at least those serious enough to require a hospital visit — have increased 300 percent since 1991.

Invest in some plastic goggles. Sawing with an electric saw, wood chips can fly right into your eyes. Chemicals splash and if your eyes aren't covered the next thing you know you can't see and it stays blurry for a long time. Even mowing the lawn is dangerous -- rocks and debris can fly up and hit you in the eye.

The vast majority of the 80,000 lawn-mower accidents each year happen when the mower shoots sticks or rocks into the air.

If you notice, at the grocery store people that stock shelves wear back belts. It's something you may want to consider and also knowing how to lift something so you don't throw your back out.

Anyone over the age of 25 or 30 will most likely experience some kind of normal back pain during home projects if they work all day. But if certain symptoms occur from an injury where the back is involved, more precautions need to be taken when considering treatment because it might be an injury where the spinal cord is compromised.

Take the time to get to know the equipment you are using. That’s the biggest and best way to remain safe. Many times if people are educated as to what the risks are they take the precautions to keep themselves safe. Of course there is the other option you can hire someone and let them take the fall. 

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