Jess Stryker's Landscape Tutorial Series, Sprinkler and Drip Irrigation System Installation.

Jess Stryker's
Landscape Irrigation Installation Tutorial
Safety First!

Read This!

There are special safety issues unique to irrigation installation. Don't skip this page like you did the safety instructions that came with that new power drill you bought!

It doesn't save any money to install your own system if you wind up in the hospital! The last thing I want is for you to get hurt! This is not by any means a complete list of safety precautions, but it should get you thinking the right way. Remember, your brain is the best safety device you have, don't start work without it! Common sense and staying alert can avert a great number of accidents. For example, when you get tired, take a break. My list of safety precautions and miscellaneous other advice, offered in no particular order.

    1. Never dig without knowing what's underground. Throughout the USA and many other countries there are "one call centers" that will have someone come out and mark the locations of buried utilities for you, so you don't dig them up. Best of all, they will do this for FREE, and you like free things, right? Your reading this free tutorial aren't you? To find the one for your area click here. This really isn't a case of public generosity, the utility companies do not want you to dig up their pipes and wires, so they pay for this service! I Even if you do use on of these services you should also look around for signs of unknown underground dangers. If you see a wire or pipe extending out of the ground you can bet it goes somewhere, try to figure out where. Remember that if you accidentally cut a utility line your surviving relatives may be charged for the cost of repairing the pipes or wires by the utility company!
    2. Take it slow and easy. Rushing leads to injuries and mistakes. I have a hard time with this one myself. I always push harder and farther than I should. If you injure yourself and have to take off work for a day or two, you will loose all the cost savings you gained by doing it yourself. Know your limitations, and get help for lifting or moving heavy objects. Be especially cautious with digging and operating any machinery that vibrates or pulls you. Both can stress your muscles without your realizing it. You don't know you're hurt until a few hours later. Wheelbarrows are another one that can get you unexpectedly. If the wheelbarrow looses balance and starts to tip it is usually best to just let go. You can reload it in a few minutes, but if you pull a muscle trying to hold it upright, it can lay you up for weeks.
    3. Wear proper work clothes. Wear a back brace (you know, one of those girdles the employees wear down at the home improvement store) while lifting and digging. Wear heavy closed-toe shoes, and long pants to protect your legs. Guys- if you get PVC cement on your legs you will find that removing it is a very unpleasant experience.
    4. Don't get sunburned! Wear a hat and sun block if you're not accustomed to working outdoors.
    5. Never get into a trench that is deeper than your knees, and never sit or lay in a trench. Trenches that appear stable can collapse without warning. Remember that if you are knocked unconscious you will not be able to pull yourself out. All that needs to be buried is your head and its all over!
    6. Drink lots of liquids. Save the beer for after you've finished working for the day.
    7. Don't work alone. Have someone else around who can go for help in an emergency.
    8. Wear gloves to minimize blisters on your hands. Hand lotion is another must have item, handling dirt dries out your hands and makes them crack. When you get PVC cement on your dry, cracked hands it stings. To remove the PVC cement from your hands use acetone. If you think the PVC cement stings wait until you feel the acetone!
    9. Never leave trenches or holes open when you aren't working. Avoid trenching more in a day than you can finish and backfill. If you can't backfill the trench then cover them with boards or rope them off, even if you're just going to lunch.
    10. Don't leave your tools laying around. You'll feel like a idiot when you have to go to the hospital with a broken nose because you stepped on a rake and the handle flipped up and hit you in the face.
    11. Keep children away from the work site. They love to play in the piles of dirt, but it just isn't safe. Lots of kids are injured each year at construction sites.
    12. Watch out for overhead wires. You don't want to knock down someone's telephone wire with a piece of PVC pipe, and of course if you're using metal pipe and bump into a bare electrical wire...

All right then. Its time to get your hands dirty!

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