SAFETY TIPS FOR AUTUMN

by pat brownlee on September 22, 2011

In the Northern Hemisphere, the first day of autumn, (or Autumnal Equinox) is Friday, September 23rd.  The word equinox comes from the Latin words for “equal night.” The fall and spring equinoxes are the only days of the year in which the hours of day and night are equal as the Sun crosses the celestial equator.  From here on out, the temperatures begin to drop and the days start to get shorter. The four seasons are determined by changing sunlight (not heat)—which is determined by how our planet orbits the Sun and the tilt of its axis.

As days begin to cool off, chances are you will be in the mood to get out there and do some of the tasks required to prepare your yard for winter.  Raking leaves is usually one of the big jobs waiting for you.  Be sure you own a good rake and a good pair of work gloves.  When picking up the leaves, bend at the knees, not the waist, or you’ll have a sore back.  As the weather becomes cooler, certain allergens blow in, just the same as in the spring.  A dust mask will help when you are working outdoors.  Watch for snakes lurking under the leaves! 

More than 400,000 victims of lawn and garden tool accidents are treated in U.S. emergency rooms annually, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.  Always wear safety glasses when doing yard work, as well as earplugs, if you are working with power tools.  Be sure you use the correct tool for each job.   If you have to use a ladder to prune trees or clean out gutters, be sure the ladder is in good condition, and set it on level space.  Move it more often as needed rather than stretch to reach something.  Many falls are attributed to faulty ladders, so it’s important to have a sturdy one.

Following the extremely hot and dry weather that many areas in the U.S. have struggled with this summer, it would probably be hard to find anyone that isn’t looking forward to the fall season.  Watching the leaves turn, taking walks on cool mornings, and enjoying the wind-up of baseball season – leading to the World Series, as well as backing your favorite college and professional football teams, should furnish pleasure to everyone. 

One other word of caution: deer are out and about more during the fall season, so please be sure to keep a watch out for them.  Many times, they get spooked and run across highways without fear of cars.  This can be a dangerous situation for drivers and passengers, as well as the animals.  So, please use caution when driving. 

Fall is such a great time of the year – make it a safe one, and enjoy!

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