Although it won’t result in a lavish display of fancy-hued foliage in Florida, the autumn equinox officially ushers in our change of seasons in a few days – on Sept. 22, to be exact. (Tweet This)

Try not to laugh out loud, Mother Nature – we know that summer is far from over here in the Sunshine State! It usually doesn’t feel like seasons actually change in Florida until we “fall back” from daylight saving time into standard time – it seems like the Florida air loses much of its moisture and has a nice crispness to it at about the same time we set our clocks back an hour. But into each breeze of humidity-free autumn air, some leaves must fall – and if you’re a weekend yard work warrior, your body could pay a stiff price!

Here are a few yard safety tips to help you avoid racking up aches and pains while you're raking your lawn this fall (Tweet This):

An ounce of prevention…

  • Warm-up and cool your body down by stretching.
  • Prevent overworking your muscles by switching the side on which you are operating equipment as often as possible and alternating your stance and motion frequently.
  • If you’re breaking ground with a hoe or another garden tool, moisten the soil first to make the job easier on you and your back.
  • When picking up or putting down equipment, bend from the knees and not at the waist.
  • Do not overfill leaf bags or carry them over your shoulder.
  • When weeding, a half-kneeling position is safer than bending forward.
  • Drink lots of water and wear sunscreen.

Dress for the occasion

  • Wear gloves while you are doing any type of yard work to help prevent your hands from blistering. 
  • Wear protective gear for all yardwork, including these safety items:
    • Safety glasses or goggles
    • Gloves 
    • Long pants
    • A back brace
    • Sturdy, slip-resistant close-toed shoes

Tools of the trade

  • Many motorized garden tools feature a strap to better distribute the weight of the machine. Wear the strap across your chest – your head and one shoulder should be inside the strap – and on the opposite side of your body from the device to help regulate your center of gravity.
  • Consider using electric-powered items, which tend to be lighter than their engine-powered counterparts.
  • Keep equipment as close to your body as possible as you lift, not at arm’s length.
  • Rakes should be comfortable and the right size for your height and strength.
  • When using a ladder, make certain it is firmly on the ground and never climb to the top.
  • When pruning hedges, hold the pruning shears close to your body.

Are you a pro at working in your yard safely? Share your tips for yard work safety below.

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