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Fall Clean Up – Be Safe Out There

Keep safety in mind during your autumn clean-up.

Fall is the season for football, changing leaf colors, and – because of yard work – back injuries, tumbles from ladders and lawn mower accidents.

Each year, thousands of Americans are injured cleaning gutters, raking leaves, washing windows and doing other chores. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) urges people to take the proper safety precautions to reduce the number of cleaning-related accidents this season.

STATISTICS: According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission:

  • In 2010, more than 35,500 people injured themselves using a stepladder.
  • More than 127,000 were injured while operating a lawn mower.

AAOS EXPERT ADVICE: “When it comes to cleaning up around the house, be sure to move and lift heavy or oddly-shaped items properly. Start by bending at the knees and lift using your legs, not from your back,” said Marc T. Galloway, M.D., orthopedic surgeon and AAOS spokesperson. “A lot of injuries tend to occur on ladders too, so if you’re cleaning the gutters or painting a bedroom make sure the ladder is stable and locked in place to avoid falls. And, whatever you do, do not stand on the top rung – this can result in orthopedic injuries like fractures or breaks.”


Lifting Heavy Objects – Proper techniques for lifting, carrying and bending should be part of any outdoor or indoor cleaning project to avoid back injuries:

  • Separate your feet, shoulder-width apart and keep your back upright and bend at the knees while tightening the stomach muscles.
  • Lift with your leg muscles as you stand up; don’t try to lift any object by yourself if it is too heavy or an awkward shape.
  • Calendar icon October 30, 2011
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