Put Safety First When Cleaning Outside During the Fall

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Between putting away outdoor furniture, raking, and cleaning out gutters, outdoor clean-up in the fall can be risky if you’re not careful.

With more than 500,000 ladder-related injuries and more than 42,000 medically-treated raking-related injuries each year, it’s important to focus on safety when cleaning up outside to prepare for winter, according to the US Consumer Product Safety CommissionOff Site Icon (CPSC).

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) recommends following these ladder safety tips to prevent injuries:

  • Avoid ladders in bad weather – Using a ladder in the rain, snow, ice, or wind makes it more dangerous. 
  • Be careful when climbing – Asking someone to hold the ladder is better than falling off of it. Always stay centered on the ladder and use hand rails when possible.
  • Choose the right ladder – Some jobs need a step stool instead of a ladder. Other jobs need an extension ladder, especially for high places, such as gutters and rooftops.
  • Follow the one-to-four ladder rule – Make sure the bottom of the ladder is one foot away from the wall for every four feet tall that the ladder is.
  • Inspect your ladder – Check the ladder for loose screws, hinges, or rungs, and clean any liquids off that could make it slippery.
  • Re-position the ladder, as needed – Do not over-reach or lean too far to grab something while on the ladder.
  • Set-up the ladder correctly – Place your ladder on a firm, level surface. Be cautious of soft ground, muddy spots, or uneven flooring.

The AAOS also recommends additional safety measures for safe fall cleanup: 

  • Use a comfortable rake – Pick a rake that feels like the right height and weight so you’re not uncomfortable.
  • Wear the right shoes – Avoid slippery, leather-soled shoes and make sure your laces are tied.
  • Care for equipment – Have leaf blowers and any other equipment serviced before the first time you use it each season.
  • Move items carefully – Be careful when moving boxes or other things on shelves because it can be easy to lose your balance.

Even if a chore seems simple, it can cause an injury if you’re not prepared. Take your time and be ready before jumping into your fall chore list.

For more information about safe fall clean-up, talk with your doctor or visit our Orthopedics page to find a physician. 

It's easy to get the care you need.

See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.