A8 SAIF safe fall, leaves.JPG

Cleaning UP or otherwise enjoying autumn splendor? Keep these safety tips in mind.

Falling leaves, crisper air and pumpkin spiced everything: It must be fall — a time for staying in and being cozy or getting out to enjoy the last bit of sunshine before the rainy season. But while we love fall, it doesn’t always love us back.

A new video from SAIF — a not-for-profit company providing workers comp insurance in the state of Oregon — demonstrates how loving fall too much can be hazardous to our safety.

“Whether it’s lifting a pumpkin that’s too heavy, doing yard work or exercising, there are many risks of getting a sprain or strain during the fall,” said Tony Brace, SAIF ergonomist.

Ergonomic issues are one of the leading causes of injury in Oregon — not just during fall, but year-round. In the last five years, SAIF has received more than 84,000 strains and sprains claims from Oregon workers.

“The good news is that simple changes to your form and posture can ensure you stay safe this season, and all year,” said Brace.

Brace offered easy tips for how to avoid injury while doing common fall activities — or while you’re at work:

 Running: Wet fallen leaves, acorns, pinecones, and downed branches can all pose slip, trip and fall hazards. If you want to get in some final steps before the weather turns, be sure to watch where you’re going and wear good shoes with slip-resistant soles.

 Cheering for the home team: Sitting all day in the bleachers can take a toll on your back. Avoid slouching, sit upright and consider a stadium seat with a back.

 Picking pumpkins: Coveting the largest gourd at the patch? Be sure to lift it safely. Keep the load close to the body by standing in front of the pumpkin with one foot along the side and your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your chin up and look forward to keep the natural curve in your lower back as you lift. Flex your knees and avoid deep squatting.

 Drinking hot beverages: While your barista is not likely to keep you from your pumpkin-spiced beverage like in the video, remember to have things you use often well within reach to avoid over-extending yourself.

 Raking leaves: It may not be everyone’s favorite fall activity, but it has to be done. Alter your stance to face the direction you are raking and avoid reaching and twisting when exerting yourself.

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