Safety Steps for January House Projects

Keep Safe During January House Projects

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During the shorter days of January, both the ground and the roof can remain slippery for weeks, making your first-of-the-year outdoor projects more challenging. Fortunately, you can tackle your outdoor to-do list without sacrificing safety. Here's how.

Dress for success. Before venturing outside, layer your clothing from head to toe to prevent frostbite and hypothermia. It's best to dress in three layers—a first layer that wicks moisture away from your body, an insulating layer that traps heat, and a protection layer that stands up to the elements. If you get too warm, you can always shed a layer.

Navigate slippery surfaces. It's no surprise that winter precipitation can leave driveways and sidewalks slick, but sometimes a thin layer of ice is hard to spot. If you suspect slippery surfaces, wear flat footwear with good traction and walk slowly with your knees slightly bent.

Shovel smart. Clearing away snow is good workout—15 minutes of it counts as moderate physical activity—but too much too fast can take a toll on your body. Warm up first to boost your heart rate. Grab a small shovel and remember to bend with your knees, not your back. Get more shoveling pointers from the National Safety Council.

Climb with care. Whether you're removing snow from your roof, taking down outdoor holiday decor, pruning trees or attempting any other outdoor activity involving a ladder, wait until the ground is dry, and be smart about ladder use . Better yet, hire a professional to complete these tasks.

Un-decorate attentively. As you un-string lights, be careful not to damage tree limbs and plants. Keep the strands tangle-free and watch your step to avoid stepping on bulbs as you pack up the strands. And just as you did at the beginning of the season, check strands for any signs of damage, discarding those that are frayed or damaged.

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