When starting to work on any project your first thought should naturally be about safety. This Autumn as you prepare your yard for the winter there are plenty of accident prone projects. Many of those accidents are due to improper use of machinery and tools. In fact, the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System estimates that around 4000 injuries in the USA are from leaf blowers, mulchers and grinders each year. While leaf blower safety can seem fairly straightforward, there are many safety issues to consider while using a leaf blower. Despite what you may see on TV, the leaf blower is definitely more of a tool than a toy. When used properly, a leaf blower can be a very helpful tool for you to own. This article will outline many of those leaf blower safety tips to help you correctly use your leaf blower this season.
Follow Leaf Blower Safety Regulations
Make sure that the leaf blower that you want is legally allowed in your residence. Some of them can operate so loudly they have actually been banned. A quick search will provide you all the information you need for local leaf blower safety. The last thing you need is angry neighbors for your machinery being too loud! Leaf blower safety regulations are different in other countries. Manufacturers in those other countries do not always abide by the same safety guidelines that the United States has in place. By purchasing a product made in the United States you can be confident your new tool will follow all leaf blower safety regulations and guidelines.
Gas Powered Leaf Blower Safety
If you buy a gas powered leaf blower make sure that the gas tank has a wide mouth. Pouring gas into the tank can be a little tricky, but a wide mouthed gas tank can help you avoid spills. If you do have a gas spill, please clean it up immediately. If you have a small mouth to your tank, you can try using a funnel for safe gas input. Do not use a gas powered leaf blower that is leaking gas. A good way to prevent the kind of damage that causes leaks to your leaf blower, is to make sure you are storing it properly Consult your owner’s manual for proper storing techniques.
Electric Leaf Blower Safety
For electric leaf blower safety, the level of insulation is crucial. Getting a double insulated electric unit will make sure no one gets electrocuted. You should also double check that your leaf blower comes with a few standard leaf blower safety features. These features include instant shut off, dust collection, and firm handles. Electric leaf blowers will almost always need long extension cords. Make sure that you are using an outdoor-rated power cord. Never use an extension cord that is fraying or damaged. You do not want to risk electrical shock from using faulty extension cords.
Leaf Blower Safety Gear
Yard work usually requires specific attire. Some leaf blower safety gear would include goggles, gloves, long sleeved shirts, and good shoes. While using your leaf blower, you might consider wearing noise cancelling headphones or another form of ear protection. A sustained high volume from the motor could damage your hearing. When the leaf blower is in operation it will undoubtedly kick up dust and debris. To prevent any damage to your eyes, grab some glasses or goggles. It will make a big difference. You should also wear a mask so you don’t have to breath in all the dust. Wearing long sleeved clothing will help in a few ways. Not only does it protect your skin from flying debris, but it can also help with other outdoor such as sun exposure or insects bites.
Watch Your Surroundings
Another leaf blower safety tip is to always be aware of your surroundings. It is a good idea to do a quick walk through of your yard so you can pick up any sticks, rocks, or objects that you could trip over. Those same rocks, sticks or toys could easily become projectile missiles when using your leaf blower. Cleaning up your yard of all unnecessary items will keep you safe all around. Extension cords and garden hoses are also large tripping hazards and should be set out of the way when leaf blowing. It is also important to be aware of who is in your surroundings. Keep small children and pets at least 10 feet away from you while you use a leaf blower. This is as much for their safety as it is for yours.
Have Secure Footing
You should always make sure you have secure footing when using a leaf blower. Avoid using your leaf blower while standing on a ladder or a roof. If you absolutely need to stand on a ladder or on the roof you should safely harness yourself down. A leaf blower is a fairly strong tool, and could easily knock you off balance. Like most other outdoor projects, proper footwear is very helpful. When using a leaf blower, try and choose comfortable closed toe shoes to help you keep your balance. You should also make sure you are wearing shoes with good grips on the bottom.
Paying close attention to what you are doing is the best leaf blower safety tip. If you are in a state of mind where it is difficult to concentrate you should turn off your leaf blower, and resume your work later at a safer time. Like all other machinery, you should not use a leaf blower if you cannot think straight. Do not use your leaf blower if you have been drinking or are under the influence of drugs. You should also avoid operating a leaf blower if you are overly tired. It is easy to make quick and irrational judgement calls when you are sleepy. It is more important to be safe than sorry.
Clean Your Leaf Blower
Regular cleaning and maintenance of your leaf blower will keep your tool in top working conditions. A leaf blower that runs smoothly is safer than one that is at risk for malfunctioning. Before cleaning your leaf blower you should turn it off and double check that it has been unplugged. It is quick and easy to clean off the cooling fans and the blower. Make sure that they are free from any extra debris that may be lingering in your leaf blower. When you clean your leaf blower you should also replace the air filters. This needs to be done from time to time to stop your leaf blower from overheating.
A leaf blower is a great tool for you to have around your yard. By following these few simple leaf blower safety tips you can insure that you will be accident free. The most important leaf blower safety tip is to use your common sense.
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