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DIY, safely

This month is Kentucky Living’s annual home improvement edition. Included in this issue is a do-it-yourself (DIY) guide to help you get started on some inexpensive home updates. I like to think of myself as a decent DIY kind of guy, but I believe my wife would disagree.

Something scary happened recently as I was doing yard work. When cutting the grass, I was going along nicely when I hit something and it exploded into a million pieces, with some of those pieces hitting me in the face. I had hit a toy that was left in the yard by some of the neighborhood kids. I just didn’t see it. Luckily, I was wearing my eye protection.

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission issues an annual report on the number of reported injuries and their causes. In 2015, more than 330,000 injuries were reported in the yard and garden equipment category. Doing work in your yard and around your house can be very dangerous, so I want to take this opportunity to remind you of a few safety tips.

First, make sure your equipment is in good working condition. My dad had a mower when we were growing up that worked well and had a powerful engine. He believed there was no need for the safety guards to remain on the mower. He removed all of the guards so the grass could really shoot out the side.

Unfortunately, the two of us discovered how well it worked when I hit a rock and it went flying into his car. After 20 minutes of him lecturing me for not paying attention, we looked at the significant dent on his car.

Second, wear personal protective equipment. Take it from me and my previous story—eye protection is a very good investment. Hearing protection is also very important around mowers and blowers. Protecting your hands with quality gloves when working in the garden is also a good idea.

Finally, when doing any work off the ground on a ladder, please make sure the ladder is in good shape and is on a stable surface. Do not use it in ways that are unsafe. Make sure you don’t get too high or reach too far and do not get near electric lines of any type. These actions can lead to falling and serious injury.

This is a great time of year to get outside and make your homes sparkle. Just make sure you can come back inside and sit down with a big glass of sweet tea with all your fingers and toes.

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