Gardening Safety Guide
Would you ride a motorcycle without a helmet? No. So why would you consider entering the garden without first taking appropriate safety precautions? There are five simple tips for keeping you and your family (including your beloved pets) safe in the garden.
Chemicals can be found everywhere, from weed killer to the pesticides used in vegetable protection. Always follow the exact instructions provided by chemical companies, including dosage and storage. Be wary of fumes given off by chemicals and avoid their inhalation. You should also always keep chemicals out of reach of pets and children (everyone, really). To protect the skin from irritation and corrosion, wear gloves when handling chemicals and wash hands thoroughly after use. Finally, if any chemical is ingested, seek medical attention.
The weather can have numerous effects on gardening safety. Here are some tips for each weather-type:
- Hot Weather:
- Keep hydrated.
- Take regular breaks to avoid exhaustion.
- Wear sunscreen to protect skin from the sun.
- Cold Weather:
- Wrap up warm.
- Consider the consistency of the soil before digging – if it is too hard you may cause yourself muscle pain.
- Dry Weather:
- This is the easiest weather to garden in and brings no innate safety concerns.
- Wet Weather:
- Never use electrical equipment or you risk fatal electrocution.
- Wear appropriate footwear to combat the slippery ground (sturdy boots, perhaps).
Electricity can be dangerous when misused or not safety-checked. To increase safety when using electric-powered equipment, you should:
- Never use in the rain.
- Never use near water.
- Invest in an RCD.
An RCD (Residual Current Device) cuts the power to any unsafe device (unsafe meaning a wire is damaged or broken, or the tool is being overpowered) and negates the risk of electrocution. An RCD is particularly useful on items where the cable is at risk (e.g. lawnmower or hedge trimmer).
Wearing the correct safety equipment for each job is critical.
If you are weeding, then you should wear gardening gloves. This will stop dirt entering any small cuts and abrasions on your hands, and prevent sharp stones from piercing you.
If you are operating a chainsaw then you should wear the following; steel-toe-capped boots, chainsaw trousers, goggles, a hard hat, and gloves.
When digging, wear a pair of steel-toe-capped boots to protect those toes.
You will know yourself what needs worn for each job depending on which dangers are apparent. Consider which part of your body is most vulnerable and find a way to protect it.
Tools are, of course, vital to the gardening process. Always follow the instructions provided with each tool; they are there for a reason. Secondly, never use the wrong tool for the wrong job. Not only will the end result be an abomination but you are putting yourself in danger. Finally, never leave tools lying around; children, animals, even adults, could hurt themselves. Store all equipment in a garden shed or designated storage cupboard.
It only takes a few minutes to ensure you and your family are safe in the garden. Don’t take the risk.