As Spring rolls into Summer the number of jobs in the garden always seems to grow. So, before you head out and tackle those hedges and plant beds, why not read our top 5 gardening health & safety tips:
Always make sure that you take the proper precautions, such as wearing gloves and appropriate clothing. Shoes should be sturdy, with laces tied and out of the way. If you’re using power tools, then eye protection is a must, to make sure that no flying pieces get into your eyes. You may want to consider ear plugs, if you are going to be using power tools for any extended period. On a final note, make sure that you take care of your tool (making sure that they are unplugged before going near moving parts).
Some garden jobs may lead you to head up a ladder to get them done, make sure that you set up correctly and ideally have someone else in the vicinity. Always make sure that the ladder is set up on even ground and that the ladder isn’t damaged in any way. Take care not to overstretch yourself, as this can lead to a lack of balance. It’s worth looking at the type of step ladder you have as well, ensuring they are strong enough for the job. Domestic ladders tend to be flimsy where ‘light industrial’ ladders are much safer to use. If you use an extending ladder, then keep to the 1 in 4 rule. 4 feet up, 1 foot out to get the correct angle.
3. Hand Washing
Make sure to wash your hands after coming in from gardening (even if you have been wearing gloves). There are load of different sources of irritant such as pollens, chemicals and plant toxins that are best left outside. Further to this, cat, dog and foxes feces’ carry an extremely harmful micro-organism, Toxocara canis, which can cause blindness.
4. The Weather
While the temptation is to head into the garden at the slightest bit of sun, take care when gardening. If you get busy with a job, it is easy to lose track of time and get a touch too much sun. By wearing a hat and long sleeve clothing, you can reduce the risk of burning this summer. Sun cream (min SPF15) is also a simple way to increase the amount of time that you can safely spend in the sun. Further to this, make sure that you drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrated. This is particularly important if you are working hard.
5. Water Features
The biggest risk associated with ponds and other water features is that children can fall in and potentially drown. Ideally, you shouldn’t have a water feature in your garden until your children are over five years old. However, if you do or your worried about visiting children, there are still steps that you can take. Such as making sure that ponds are visible from the house, has sloping edges (which are easier to get out of) and if you have a deeper end to your pond, make sure that you grow plants around the edge as a barrier. You could also invest in a pond cover, for when little ones are visiting your home.
As usual with health & safety the key is not to stop doing what you want to get done, but taking a common-sense approach to doing it. To find out more about our courses, including first aid, why not visit the SOA Safety website?