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Post new topic   Reply to topic    Irish Gardeners Forum Home -> Irelands Garden tools / equipment. (mowers, glasshouses & polytunnels etc).

Avoiding gardening injuries -Especially with ladders

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 12:05 pm    Post subject: Avoiding gardening injuries -Especially with ladders Reply with quote

Gardening injuries
Gardens can be a place of pleasure, relaxation and exercise. They can also be a dangerous place. In Ireland and the UK there are over 100,000 people attending accident and emergency hospitals every year with gardening related injuries.

According to research done by the BBC, the lawnmower tops the list of the most dangerous pieces of equipment, with 7,500 lawnmower related accidents reported each year. Surprisingly the innocent looking flowerpot is the second most dangerous tool, causing 6,300 accidents, with falls, cuts and lifting injuries some of the most common types of accident recorded.

Here are some reasons why accidents happen in the garden:

- Ignorance of potential risks.
- A lack of planning and preparation.
- Taking shortcuts and not preparing areas before starting work.
- A lack of skill or training to ensure that the job is done safely.
- Being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

DIY shops are full of mechanical equipment to make you life easier in the garden. There have been recent reports of counterfeit goods being sold on the internet which look like the real at discounted prices. They are mainly chainsaws and power tools and could be potentially lethal as the safety cut off switches and low grade casings could be accidents waiting to happen. Always buy off reputable dealers.

How to make the garden a safer place.

You can help to avoid accidents by following some simple guidelines:

- Empty paddling pools after children have finished playing in them.
- Learn which plants are poisonous and ensure children and pets stay away from them.
- Avoid trip hazards such as loose paving slabs, hosepipes left unravelled or uneven surfaces.
- Use surfaces that provide a good grip underfoot, especially on decking.
- Avoid the garden if possible when conditions are icy and slippery, again, especially decking.
- Do not leave sharp tools lying around. Lock them away from children.
- Wear safety equipment - such as goggles, hard hats, gloves and steel toe capped boots - when using machinery and tuck in loose items of clothing.
- Never leave a barbecue unattended and make sure the flames are extinguished before going to bed.
- If you are in the least bit unsure about the safety of tackling a job, call in professionals.
- Electrical equipment should have surge protectors RCD (residual current device) and never be used in wet weather.
- Lock away chemicals such as weedkillers and insecticides. Just because they have the words 'organic' or 'bio' on them, does not make them safe to touch.
- Design a garden so that it reduces the need for high maintenance and lifting.

Using a step ladder
Apart from the obvious reason of being covered in paint, the main superstition for not walking under a ladder stems from the days of public hangings, the only time they would see a ladder is when the body was being removed. We still need to be wary of stepladders, here are a few reasons why:
One of the biggest dangers with a stepladder is when you work sideways. Putting pressure on a screwdriver or a bow saw is enough to push the ladder over and you with it. Face the work directly and preferably have someone holding the base of the ladder at all times.
Don't overstretch yourself. Ensure the ladder gives you enough height for the job. Teetering on the last rung of the ladder isn't a good idea.
Never leave tools on the platform at the top of the ladder. These become very dangerous if the ladder is knocked at ground level as the tools can come crashing down, and not all of us wear hard hats in the garden.
Ensure the ladder is in good condition and the rungs are structurally sound and not damaged, rusty or dented. Having a rung missing can be a disaster.

More brief tips:

- Is a ladder the best tool for the job? In many cases, a scissors or aerial lift is a safer option.
- Do not paint wooden ladders.
- Keep ladders at least ten feet away from power lines.
- Stand in the center to avoid tipping.
- Do not carry objects when moving up or down.
- Never move a ladder with someone on it.
- Lower an extension ladder before moving it.
- Never leave unsecured ladder unattended.
- Always secure a ladder by tying it down or having someone hold it.
- Keep areas around ladders clear.
- Do not tie ladders together unless made for that purpose.
- If possible, use a personal fall protection system attached to a secure point when working from a ladder.
- Check the ladder has rubber feet to prevent it slipping and place them on a flat hard surface.
- Make sure the ladder's feet are on solid, even ground and the angle isn't too steep.
- Keep the steps clean and dry.
- Keep one hand firmly on the ladder when working.
- Do not leave prunings on the rungs of the ladder. They could become slippery and create a trip hazard.

Personal safety equipment

Always make sure that you are wearing the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to avoid a serious injury when working in the garden. This is particularly important when operating machinery such as mowers, strimmers, chainsaws and hedge-trimmers. PPE can include steel-toe caped boots, goggles, ear-defenders, gloves and hard hats. Always consult an expert if you are unsure what you should be wearing for a job.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't forget Verge's wheelbarrow incident! Laughing Laughing Laughing

And of course Alan Titchmarsh would NEVER leave a rake that way.

A little garden in Co. Limerick.Some non-gardening photographs.
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