Preventing Falls at Home When Landscaping

Spring is here, and many people are preparing to clean up the outside of their homes and get some landscaping done. Before you reach for the shovel or march up the ladder, be sure to take some precautions for preventing falls at home while landscaping.

1. Check the tread on your shoes. Grass, leaves, sand, and gravel are easy to slip on. Make sure the tread on your shoes gives you reliable traction on these surfaces.

2. Watch the water. Water on wooden decks and tile patios is particularly hazardous. When hosing them off, try and avoid walking over these until after they have dried. Similarly, avoid working in the early morning until after any dew has evaporated.

3. Stay off the slopes. If you are mowing grass on a hill, mow from side to side and stay horizontal with the slope. Don't try and walk up and down the hill.

4. Check the ladder first. Never climb any ladder without first checking that all the rungs, side rails, spreaders, and other components are stable and functioning. In particular, make sure that the shoes/feet of the ladder are firmly planted on a level, non-slip surface before mounting the ladder.

5. Don't drink. It is very tempting to sip some tea from Long Island or a bottle of beer from the fridge on a hot day, but consuming alcohol can lead to loss of balance. Likewise, make sure that any prescription medications you take won't cause dizziness or loss of balance.

6. Work until the daylight's gone. Avoid working at night as much as possible. The cooler air makes this appealing, but many trips, slips, and falls are caused by a lack of light. Even if you have a floodlight or other exterior lights, there are always blind spots and shadows that you can fall into.

7. Follow simple ladder safety. The three-point rule prevents many falls; always keep two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand on the ladder. Never stand on the top rung, and don't exceed the maximum load rating.

8. Careful where you dig! Always contact your utility provider and have them mark any underground electric, gas, and water lines before you dig into the dirt.

For more information about things you can do that are effective at preventing falls at home, contact Welmaker Injury Law at (210) 828-6033.