Autumn’s falling leaves are accompanied by a range of tasks, from taking the boat off the water to winterizing your cottage. These seemingly routine jobs can cause a lot of problems if they’re not handled correctly, and can lead to injuries and lost productivity.

Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind while doing chores this fall.

Winterizing the cottage

• Shut off and drain water from any pipes and plumbing. Pipes that still have water in them can burst when the water freezes, which can cause property damage. If you plan on using the cottage during the winter, be sure to leave the heat on at 10 C or higher to prevent the water from freezing in the pipes.

• Some forms of heating are better left turned off, even if you plan on visiting your cottage throughout the winter. If you use baseboard heating, turn it off and use another heating source. If left unattended, electric baseboard heaters can cause a fire and burn your cottage.

• Ask a friend to shovel your driveway and decks if you won’t be at your cottage. A lived-in look reduces the risks of being victimized by a break-in.

Winterizing the boat

• Be careful around the water. Drownings can occur in only a few seconds, and many drowning victims never intended on being in the water in the first place. Wear a personal flotation device and exercise caution.

• Check the hull of your boat for any stress fractures. Repairing the fractures now will save you headaches once the snow and ice are gone.

• Be aware of freezing, corrosion and fuel degradation as you winterize your boat’s motor. Power up the engine until it reaches its running temperature, then change the oil and filter.  You should also flush the engine with fresh water and store it in a vertical position to make sure the water drains completely and does not freeze inside the engine.

• To avoid corrosion, spray fogging oil into the carburetor while the engine is still running, and into the cylinders once you’ve turned off the engine. Rotating the engine a few times allows for a more thorough coating, which will leave it less vulnerable to the elements.