Warm weekends are prime time for yard work and outdoor projects. To avoid turning tasks into turmoil, be sure to take a few extra moments to ensure the power tools you use are safe. CSA Group, a leader in electronic product testing and certification, offers tips to help ensure the safety of you and your family while doing yard work this weekend. General Tips for Yard Maintenance • Ensure products such as electric lawnmowers, barbecues, power tools, ladders, decorative lights, extension cords and safety apparel carry the mark of a recognized or accredited certification organization, such as CSA Group.
• Protect yourself by wearing protective eyewear and footwear recognized by a certification organization, such as CSA Group. Hearing protection should be worn when operating loud machinery, vehicles or tools. Lawnmowers • Before mowing, take the time to remove objects in your yard that may obstruct your mower or be flung by its rotating blades.
• Never clear an obstruction in a running mower. If the mower is electric, turn off the power and unplug the machine. If it’s gas, turn off the power and make sure the engine isn’t running and that all safety features have been activated. Portable Power Tools • Never use a power tool that has a cracked casing, loose parts or frayed cords. Ensure all safety guards are in place and in proper working order.
• Make sure the tool is turned off before it’s plugged in or unplugged. Always unplug the tool before changing parts like drill bits or cutting blades.
• Use only electric power tools that have either a three-prong plug or double insulation with a heavy enough gauge -- or wire size -- to handle the electricity load. Use an outlet with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter to protect against electric shock. Extension Cords • Check extension cords for wear and damage before each use. Discard any cords that are frayed or have damaged insulation.
• Never connect more than one extension cord together. Instead, use a single cord that is long enough to reach from the outlet to an appliance or tool.
• When working outside, only use cords clearly labeled for outdoor use.
• Never run an electrical cord through a doorway or under a carpet. If a cord becomes hot when plugged in, discontinue use immediately and replace with a heavier gauge cord.
More safety tips available at www.csasafetytips.com.