Whilst gardening is a fantastic hobby, it is not without its own risks.
Labouring in the garden under a hot sun (remember that?) brings sunburn and heat stroke and maybe muscle strains too. Many of the tools used are sharp and often more than a little rusty which poses problems when you cut yourself. Not only that, many of the plants themselves are somewhat irritant to the skin, causing rashes and blisters and other irritations. Soil also contains the tetanus bacteria and so gardeners are more at risk of acquiring tetanus via cuts to the skin.
Like all things in life, prevention is better than cure but how many of us think we might get hurt in the garden – unless of course we are wielding a chain saw about in a frenzy!
There is of course a recipe for ensuring you stay fit and well in the garden and it involves the following:
First take one human body
Apply the appropriate clothing; long legged trousers and long sleeve shirts to prevent scratches and bites
Undertake some gentle stretching exercises to warm up the muscles
Fill up a water bottle and take it out to the garden
Apply liberal quantities of sunscreen to exposed areas of skin
Check tools are clean and ready for use
Apply a hat
You should be ready to undertake the gardening now, just ensure you don’t overdo it!
Joking aside, if you do get any small cuts and scratches whilst gardening it is very important that you clean them thoroughly with warm water and that you cover them with a suitable dressing before continuing with your work. This is because there are a whole host of bacteria that live in the soil and which can be found on plants via bird droppings etc. These can cause some extremely nasty skin infections which can make you very ill.
In addition BBC Scotland recently reported a rare outbreak of legionnella linked to handling compost. So the advice is to consider wearing gloves when handling potting compost.
We all have sheds and garages that are crammed full of stuff and bits of things we might need in the future. Over the winter more stuff just gets piled in and perhaps now it’s time to tidy it up.
But before you embark on your gardening/shed clearing this weekend, bear in mind that 1 in 5 of all accidents happen in the garden.
Each year, many people arrive at A&E departments with injuries ranging from the minor sprains, cuts and blisters to the more severe bleed, broken bones and amputations, caused by accidents in and around the home and garden.
Taking some time to check your equipment and safe storage of things such as weedkillers, adhesives and solvents could prevent nasty things happening. Most of these are common sense and really don’t take much time out of our busy days to deal with. Lets face it, a few minutes spent checking and maintaining equipment and clearing out the shed/garage may save time in A& E later.
Helpfully, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) have produced a checklist to help householders think about safety issues in the home and garden:
Ladders should be checked before using them to ensure they are in good repair and that they are placed at a safe angle (1in 4). It is almost incredible to think that people would climb up a ladder where the rungs were worn, but they do!
Always follow manufacturer’s instructions when using weed killers, and never transfer chemicals to alternative containers that could confuse and lead to poisoning.
Maintain sharp tools and remember to put them away tidily after to use to prevent injury, particularly to children.
Keep paths and steps level, stable and clear of any moss that might cause slips trips and falls.
Provide safety rails and barriers to changes in garden levels.
Site bonfires well away from fences, sheds and trees, and keep children away from them too.
Adhering to theses simple rules makes gardening safer for everyone concerned, so that you can enjoy your time in the garden and make the most of any fine weather.