Pruning? Don’t Cut Back on Safety

Pruning involves many potential hazards from eye injuries to falls to cuts to electrocution. Wearing proper clothing, using sharp tools and avoiding power lines will reduce the risks.

Eyes are especially vulnerable to injuries from pointed branches, vines and twigs. Wear safety glasses because regular eyeglasses or sunglasses don’t provide enough protection for the sides of the face.

Shoes or boots with a good tread can help provide traction on loose or slippery ground. Falling may cause back injuries or wounds from tools. Steel-toed footwear provides extra protection.
Never carry tools in your pockets because you can easily injure yourself in a fall. Wear a leather holster or pouch to hold small hand tools.

To protect hands, always wear gloves when pruning. Gloves provide a better grip on tools and prevent cuts and scrapes from sharp branches.

Make sure hand and power tools are well sharpened. Sharp saws and cutters require less stamina and reduce fatigue. Take several breaks while pruning and use the rest time to sharpen your tools.

High-reach saws and trimmers pose an obvious hazard when used around electrical power lines. Note places where power lines run through trees. Avoid these areas or at least be careful and look up around power lines.

Source: Adapted from New Mexico State University College of Agriculture & Home Economics web site, www.cahe.nmsu.edu/news