UL Urges Careful Inspection of Spring Cleaning Tools, Supplies

With some families operating on tighter budgets this year, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) encourages consumers to be cautious when deciding whether to "reuse" or "replace" their spring cleaning tools this season. Whether that means hauling out the lawn mower from the garage, sprucing up your home with a fresh coat of paint or gardening, remember to consider safety when heading outdoors and cleaning around the house.

"When you're finally in the spring cleaning mode the last thing you want to do is take a trip to the emergency room," says John Drengenberg, manager of Consumer Affairs at Underwriters Laboratories. "Yet more than 350,000 people do each year from injuries associated with improper use of ladders, lawn mowers and power garden tools. So if you're cleaning out the gutters, mowing the grass, or brightening up the exterior of your home with a new paint color, following a few precautions can keep your family safer."

UL recommends following these simple tips to make sure safety is a priority in your spring cleaning routine:

  • If you're re-using last season's lawn and garden power tools, be sure to inspect them for frayed power cords and cracked or broken casings. If the product is damaged, have it repaired by a qualified technician, or replace it.
  • Keep your lawn and garden tools in good shape for next year's spring cleaning season. Never carry them by the cord, and never yank the cord when removing it from a receptacle. When disconnecting the cord, always grasp the plug -- not the wire. Keep the cord away from heat, oil and sharp edges.
  • When pulling out the lawn mower for the first time this year, refresh your memory and read the owner's manual and know how to stop the machine in case of an emergency. 
    • If you have a gasoline-powered mower, store the gas in a UL Classified safety can.
    • Always start the mower outdoors. Never operate the mower where carbon monoxide can collect, such as in a closed garage, storage shed or basement.
    • Do not operate an electrical or gas-powered lawn mower on wet grass.
  • When you're done using your power tools and garden appliances, store them away from water sources to avoid electric shock. Never use power tools and appliances in the rain.
  • Whether it's brand new or been through a couple of spring cleanings, if you're using a ladder, remember to read the instructions and warning labels before using. These instructions help you choose the proper ladder for the job and describe ladder weight and height limits.
    • Remember the 4-to-1 rule. For every four feet of ladder height, the bottom of the ladder should be one foot away from the wall or object it is leaning against.
  • If you're purchasing new tools this spring look for the UL Mark, which means that representative samples of that product have been tested to stringent safety standards with regard to fire, electric shock and related safety hazards.

To learn more about spring cleaning the safe way, visit, www.ul.com/newsroom.

Download Center

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • A Guide to Practicing “New Safety”

    Learn from safety professionals from around the world as they share their perspectives on various “new views” of safety, including Safety Differently, Safety-II, No Safety, Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), Resilience Engineering, and more in this helpful guide.

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • EHS Software Buyer's Guide

    Learn the keys to staying organized, staying sharp, and staying one step ahead on all things safety. This buyer’s guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that best suits your company’s needs.

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - May 2022

    May 2022

    Featuring:

    • WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY
      How Wearable Technology is Transforming Safety and the Industrial Workplace
    • TRAINING: CONFINED SPACES
      Five Tips to Improve Safety in Confined Spaces
    • INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE
      Monitor for Asbestos to Help Save Lives
    • PPE: FALL PROTECTION
      Fall Protection Can Be Surprising
    View This Issue