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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.

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