For Immediate Release:
August 12, 2020
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Consumer Alert: NYS Division of Consumer Protection Offers Tips to Help Keep New Yorkers Safe When Working Outdoors This Summer
Taking Simple Precautions Can Keep New Yorkers Safe When Working Outside
The New York State Division of Consumer Protection (DCP) today offered New Yorkers tips to keep safe when working outdoors this summer.
“With many New Yorkers spending more time at home this summer due to COVID-19, it’s a great time to tackle those outdoor home improvement projects and catch up on yardwork,” said Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, who oversees the New York State Division of Consumer Protection. “I encourage all New Yorkers to keep these basic safety tips in mind when working around the house over the next several months.”
Summertime is a prime season for doing some home repairs and it is also a prime time for excessive heat. Excessive heat is the leading cause of preventable, weather-related deaths each year, particularly among the elderly. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heat causes more than 600 preventable deaths in the United States yearly. Follow some basic tips to avoid injuries or illness when doing a variety of work around the home:
Heat Safety Tips:
- Avoid strenuous activity, especially during the sun's peak hours of 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Outdoor work and activity should be done in the early morning between 4 a.m. and 7 a.m.
- Drink plenty of water and non-caffeinated beverages.
- Stay out of the sun and try to cool off in an air-conditioned building for a few hours during the hottest part of the day. The sun heats the inner core of your body, resulting in dehydration. If air conditioning is not available, stay on the lowest floor, out of the sunshine, or go to a public building with air conditioning
- If you must go outdoors, wear sunscreen with a high sun protector factor rating (at least SPF 15) and a hat to protect your face and head. When outdoors, wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing. Cover as much skin as possible to avoid sunburn and over-warming effects of sunlight on your body.
Ladder Safety Tips:
- Before you climb up on that ladder to do home repairs, painting, or gutter cleaning, ask someone to “spot” you. A partner is very important to help stabilize the ladder as you climb.
- Make sure your ladder is set up on stable ground.
- Keep the ladder away from power lines and live electrical wires to prevent electrocution.
Power Tools Safety Tips:
- Make sure you read the directions first and follow the instructions in the owner’s manual.
- Protect yourself while you work: wear snug clothing and remove jewelry that could get caught in tools.
- Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris.
- When using power tools, never carry them by the cord, and keep cords away from heat, oil, and sharp edges.
- One power tool that is regularly involved in injuries is a table saw. No matter how expert you are, always use the blade guard for through cuts, and use a push stick for small pieces.
- When using battery-powered tools, only use the battery and charger provided by the manufacturer.
- Always keep hands away from moving parts.
- Extreme caution is required when operating a chainsaw. Never cut over your head (kickback can land the chainsaw into your face or shoulder).
- Bear in mind that power tools and alcoholic beverages do not mix well; stay sober to stay safe.
Electrical Safety Tips:
- Electrical power used outdoors poses a shock or electrocution hazard. Make sure that extension cords are properly grounded, not damaged with exposed wires, rated for outdoor use and suitable for the intended current of the equipment you’re using.
- Avoid using corded power tools in damp or wet conditions. Ensure that receptacles used to supply outdoor power have properly tested ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection, or use a portable GFCI.
- Make sure you check your deck for loose hardware (nails or screws), rotting boards, and eroding foundations.
Lawn Mowing Safety Tips:
- Do not allow children to ride on a mower as a passenger. To keep children safe, children should never be in the yard when mowing.
- Before you start mowing, pick up objects like stones, branches and toys, which potentially could become flying objects if you run over them.
- Dress appropriately for the job: sturdy shoes with slip-resistant rubber soles, long pants and long-sleeved shirts, close-fitting clothes, eye protection, heavy gloves, and hearing protection, when needed.
- Do not mow in reverse, unless absolutely necessary, and always look down and behind you before and while going in reverse.
The New York State Division of Consumer Protection serves to educate, assist and empower the State’s consumers. For more consumer protection information, call the Consumer Helpline at 800-697-1220, Monday through Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm. Consumer complaints can be filed anytime online at the Division website, www.dos.ny.gov/consumerprotection
. Follow the Division at @NYSConsumer or www.facebook.com/nysconsumer