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  3. Gardening Safety for a Safe and Enjoyable Experience

Gardening Safety for a Safe and Enjoyable Experience

Gardening has been an activity enjoyed by many over the years. It offers us the opportunity to enjoy the wonders of nature, create beautiful spaces and reap the rewards of growing your own fruit and veg. But, just like any physical activity, gardening requires several safety measures to allow for a pleasant and accident-free experience.

This article aims to provide the everyday gardener ten safety considerations before you start gardening. By following these guidelines, you can create a safe environment and fully enjoy the gardening experience.

1. Protective Clothing

Every time we step into the garden, we are exposing ourselves to hazards like sharp objects, thorns and sometimes harmful chemicals. But we can protect ourselves by wearing suitable clothing. Consider wearing long trousers made of a sturdy fabric to protect your legs from cuts and scratched.

We could also choose to wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes to protect our feet from potential injuries like falling tools or stepping on sharp objects (we have all done this at least once when gardening in a rush).

The basics in gardening is wearing gardening gloves made of a durable material to provide comfort, allowing the handling of tools and plants effectively whilst minimising the risk of cuts, scratches or exposure to plants that can irritate our skin.

2. Shielding from the Sun

As tempting as it may be to get out into the garden on a bright, sunny day, we also need to be mindful of effects of prolonged sunlight on our skin. To protect our skin, remember to apply a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, reapplying every two hours. Also try to cover exposed areas of skin, including the face, neck and ears, with a hat. Make sure to spend some time in the shade intermittently to further reduce your exposure to harmful UV rays.

3. Choosing the Right Tools

Remember to use the correct tools, and that they are in good condition. I know most of us have used a dull or damaged tool at some point, but this can lead to accidents and injuries. Make sure to keep your tools sharp and in good condition to make gardening easier. It is also worth investing in high-quality gardening tools that are designed for specific tasks.

4. Tidy Tool Storage

Does anyone else have a messy garden tool shed that just acts as a dumping ground during the gardening seasons? Mine has recently become so unmanageable that I have found myself stumbling over tools and becoming a safety risk. Having a designated area for storing tools is a great way to keep them organised and easy to find. Think about installing hooks or racks to hang larger tools, and using containers for smaller hand tools.

5. Mindful Tool Handling

When using your garden tools, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and only use them for their specific purpose. For powered equipment, such as lawnmowers and hedge trimmers, it is definitely worth reading the safety manual before using the tools. And most importantly, never leave tools unattended, especially if they have sharp blades or are in a hazardous condition. After each use, clean the tools to remove debris and store them in their designated area to prevent accidental injuries.

6. Chemical Safety

When using fertilisers, pesticides or other chemicals in your garden, make sure to read and follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Wear appropriate protective gear like goggles and gloves when handling these chemicals to shield yourself from potential exposure. According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), it’s important to store chemicals in a secure location away from the reach of children and pets. Lock them in a well-ventilated cabinet or shed, ensuring they are in their original containers with proper labelling.

7. Watchful for Electrical Hazards

When using lawnmowers and hedge trimmers, make sure to be cautious of the electrical hazards to prevent any accidents. Inspecting power cords regularly and using outdoor-rated extension cords will help protect you from injuries. Ensure you keep any electrical leads away from water sources to reduce the risk of electrical shocks.

8. Wildlife Awareness

Most gardens will likely be homes to bees and wasps during summer. Whilst they may play a crucial role in our ecosystem, it is worth being mindful of their presence whilst you are gardening.

If you do encounter a bee or wasp whilst out in the garden, remain calm and avoid making sudden movements. If a beehive or wasp nest is present in your garden, it’s best to contact a professional pest control service to remove them safely.

9. Lifting Heavy Objects

Gardening often involves lifting heavy objects such as pots, bags of soil, or equipment. Incorrect lifting techniques can lead to strains, sprains, or back injuries. To lift objects safely, follow these steps:

  1. Assess the weight of the object before attempting to lift it. If it’s too heavy, ask for assistance.
  2. Stand close to the object with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  3. Bend at the knees, not the waist, while keeping your back straight.
  4. Grasp the object firmly, using both hands and keeping it close to your body.
  5. Engage your leg muscles as you straighten your legs, lifting the object with your legs rather than your back.
  6. Avoid twisting your body while carrying the object. Instead, pivot your feet to change direction.
  7. If you need to set the object down, reverse the lifting process, bending your knees and lowering it slowly.

10. Lawnmower Safety

Lawnmowers are standard tools used in garden maintenance, and their safe operation is vital to prevent accidents. Follow these lawnmower safety tips:

  1. Before starting the lawnmower, inspect it for any loose or damaged parts. Ensure the blades are sharp and properly attached.
  2. Clear the mowing area of any debris, rocks, or toys the lawnmower blades could throw.
  3. Wear appropriate footwear, such as sturdy closed-toe shoes, to protect your feet.
  4. Never remove safety guards or shields from the lawnmower.
  5. Avoid mowing wet grass to reduce the risk of slips or falls.
  6. When mowing, walk slowly and be aware of your surroundings, especially if children or pets are nearby.
  7. If you need to adjust or clean the lawnmower while running, always turn it off and disconnect the spark plug to prevent accidental starts.

Conclusion

“Gardening offers a multitude of benefits, from enhancing the beauty of your outdoor space to providing a source of relaxation and satisfaction. However, it’s essential not to overlook the significance of safety while tending to your garden. Incorporating these safety considerations into your gardening routine can create an environment that promotes enjoyment and well-being,” says Chris Bonnett, CEO of Gardening Express.

So, put on your protective clothing, handle your tools carefully, and remain mindful of potential hazards. With these precautions, you can have a safe and fulfilling gardening journey.

Updated on March 15, 2024

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