With many trees bare of leaves at this time of year, have your thoughts turned to that overdue chore of trimming and pruning? If so, make sure you put safety at the top of your yard maintenance list.
Thousands of people end up in the emergency room every year with tree-related injuries, when following some commonsense rules would have protected them.
For instance, you should never attempt trimming or removal within 10 feet of a powerline. It's a job for professionals only. If you have to climb a tree, always test limbs and branches for stability, ensure ladders are securely positioned and never climb while holding tools.
Whether trimming branches or removing an entire tree, calculate where they will fall and ensure the fall area is clear before starting. It's advisable to wear googles and other safety equipment, including strong gloves and, where appropriate, a hard hat.
This is particularly important if you're using a chainsaw. In addition to heavy work gloves, you should wear thick clothing and even consider chaps as an extra layer of protection. Also, don’t attempt big pruning jobs if you're tired or unwell, or if the weather is stormy. Finally, if in doubt about your abilities, call in a pro -- and stay safe!