“ERs treat more than 400 000 injuries each year related to outdoor gardening.”
-US Consumer Product Safety Commission
Whether you are a beginner or an expert, there are certain safety precautions that all gardeners need to follow.
Dress to Protect
Like how there is a dressing code for a party or a funeral, the same applies to when you are gardening. As you will be exposed to harmful insects, chemicals and even the sun, it is essential to wear the proper clothing.
- Long sleeves and pants are recommended.
- It is also recommended to wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, neck, head and ears.
- You should also wear shoes with closed toes as these can help to prevent any injury to your feet from shovels or other equipment used while gardening.
- Now, I am sure you know that one should always wear gloves while planting. Wearing the proper gloves can not only reduce blistering but can also protect your skin from fertilizers, pesticides, fungus and bacteria that live in the soil. For example, leather gloves are favored as they can protect you from thorny objects, poison ivy, insect bites and other skin irritants that can be found in the garden. Besides, did you know that gloves can also prevent sun damage and fingernail damage?
- Other protective gear such as knee pads and safety glasses are also recommended.
Be Sun Smart in the Garden
Time spent in the garden also mean time spent in the sun and many hours toiling over plants without proper protection can leave you vulnerable to sunburn. For example, did you know that ultraviolet radiation from the sun can start to burn unprotected skin within minutes?
As a result, it is important to take the necessary steps to protect yourself from the sun:
- If it is possible, I would suggest you to do most of the gardening tasks before 10 am or after 4 pm and by doing so, you will avoid the hours when the sun is strongest.
- I suggest you to use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 for adequate protection and make sure you apply it to unprotected skin 20 minutes before going outside.
- As your eyes are extra sensitive to UV rays, it is crucial for you to wear a good pair of sunglasses (also if you want to look cool).
- As mentioned above, it is also vital to wear long pants and sleeves. I suggest light colored-clothes and tightly woven fabrics that can better protect the skin compared to dark-colored clothing, since light colors will also keep you cooler by reflecting the sun’s heat. You can also consider sun-blocking clothing.
When you are outside in the garden, you need to have water on hand and drink plenty of it to reduce the possibility of dehydration. Moreover, you will also need to avoid alcoholic drinks and beverages high in sugar. Also, remember to stay away from caffeinated and carbonated drinks.
Avoid Prolonged Motions
If you didn’t know, then let me tell you that prolonged and repetitive motions like digging, raking, trimming, pruning and planting can irritate your skin, nerves and tendons. And, if you want to avoid these, you will need to switch up your tasks every 20 minutes or so and also take breaks in-between tasks.
Gardening Equipment Safety
Below you will find some suggestions concerning gardening equipment safety:
- It is vital to check your gardening equipment regularly so as to make sure it’s functioning properly.
- Next, you need to be aware of electrical leads when you are using tools such as line trimmers, electric mowers and hedge trimmers.
A small sitting stool is required when pulling weeds or doing other repetitive tasks in the garden as it will help you to avoid getting stuck in a low position and prevent you from over-stressing your spine.
Will you remember these safety tips next time you step out into your garden? Please share your comments!