Tips to stay safe during fall cleanup

It’s time to say goodbye to summer and hello to fall. The season change means draining the pool, cleaning out landscaping, and raking up leaves.

Thousands of Americans are injured during their fall cleanup each year. To make sure you’re not one of them, follow these safety tips.

Lifting heavy objects

When summer ends, you might need to move heavy equipment indoors for storage. When doing so, use proper lifting techniques: separate your feet shoulder-width apart and keep your back upright. Bend at the knees while tightening the stomach muscles.

Always lift with your leg muscles and don’t try to lift any object by yourself if it is too heavy.


Raking might seem simple, but there are risks involved if you take the task lightly. Do some light stretching before you get started, and begin raking slowly to loosen up.

The right equipment is equally important to avoiding injury while raking. Use a rake that is comfortable for your height and strength, and take breaks as needed. To prevent blisters, wear gloves or use rakes with padded handles.

As leaves accumulate, especially after rain or heavy dew, those piles can easily trap moisture where bacteria will grow. While your kids might be tempted to jump into that mountain of leaves, doing so may expose them to potential illnesses. Additionally, sharp sticks can often be hidden within leaf piles.

Cleaning the gutters

Using ladders, especially on uneven outdoor surfaces, always poses a risk. Only place ladders on firm, level surfaces and be sure to check the sturdiness before climbing. When necessary, have someone hold the ladder to better stabilize it. If the weather isn't right on the day you planned to clean your gutters, it's better to postpone than to climb up and down a ladder in inclement weather.

When working on a ladder, your bellybutton should not go beyond the sides of the ladder. Leaning too far to one side can make you lose your balance and fall. Obsereve "three points of contact" rule, which states that you should have three limbs on the ladder at all times. Lastly, wear a toolbelt to keep your hands free as much as possible.

Mowing the lawn

Wear proper footwear and eyewear for protection while you maintain your lawn. Hard or sharp items might be hiding under leaves, so extra precaution is recommended. After refueling, make sure to store oil and gasoline safely to prevent garage fires.

Using a leaf blower

Remember that leaf blowers also will blow things like sticks and small stones. Wear proper eye protection and be aware of your surroundings. Keep your kids and pets at a safe distance (50 feet is recommended) until you're done.

Fall is a beautiful time of year. Stay safe and enjoy it!