Stay safe when cleaning

by Lyle Karasiuk

Spring is definitely in the air as everyone has begun getting rid of the winter grime from buildings, sidewalks and yards. Raking the yard, trimming the trees and hauling out the trash are all spring activities. So too is some spring cleaning!

Spring cleaning might involve opening out a shed or storage building that has been sealed up for the winter. When doing so open the doors and give it some time to air out. If the critters moved in for the winter especially mice, we want to alert for mouse droppings and the potential for Hantavirus. Wearing a mask is essential protection. N95 preferred. Be alert and when sweeping out the space take appropriate precautions.

Early symptoms include fatigue, fever and muscle aches, especially in the large muscle groups—thighs, hips, back, and sometimes shoulders. These symptoms are universal. There may also be headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Sounds a little bit like COVID.

You’ve probably grabbed a bucket of water and some rags to do the spring house cleaning. Wearing some good footwear vs bare or stocking feet will keep you “grounded.” But what about those hard to reach spots. Find an appropriate step stool vs a chair or even a small step ladder.

Take your time. One slip or trip can be life changing. No one wants nor needs broken bones should you fall. Keep your floors dry and watch for pets, they love to be with us but sometimes we don’t realize they are right behind us. Wear some gloves, cleaning chemicals can be harsh to the skin. Remember to read the labels too. Sounds silly but it wasn’t written because the manufacturer needed to fill space on the label.

Heading outdoors involved sometimes heavy lifting. Lift with your legs, don’t twist and turn at same time while holding a heavy object. A couple trips is easier on the back than straining to lift everything at once. A wheelbarrow can make loads easier to move around too.

When heading up on the ladder be sure you start with a solid surface. Proper footwear; don’t overextend your reach and definitely the top step of a step ladder is not for you to stand on. If you need a taller ladder, then use one.

Worst thing you can do is prop your step ladder onto something to get that extra height. If you do get up onto your roof for repairs or inspection, do so safely. Proper footwear and safety harness are necessary to prevent a serious fall. Then again having a professional do so keeps everyone safe.

Outdoors might involve some power tools. Chain saws can be dangerous if not used properly. Head, eye, hand and leg protection is essential to the safe operations. Knowing how to use the device with a sharp blade and timber, watch out for falling branches especially in the direction of people or property. This is where someone who has a whole lot more expertise might be essential to your good health.

We take for granted that simple everyday house chores won’t be hazardous to one’s health. But every year countless injuries occur but improper use of power tools. Careless storage of power equipment. Improper footwear or clothing or not turning off the power before servicing the equipment.

Don’t be a statistic! Read the label, wear the gear and before starting a project take a few extra minutes to be safe!