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November 11, 2011

Safety first in the garden

- by Debra Anchors

When working in your garden and landscape, it is important to create and maintain the safest working environment possible. Gardening accidents rate high in emergency rooms during the spring and summer.  What follows are reminders of how to keep yourself, as well as your children and pets, safe in the garden.

DO always know where your children and pets are and keep them out of the landscape while you work. Lawn mowers and chain saws are killers.

DO determine locations of underground utility lines before you dig. Buried lines may be for gas, electricity, communications or water. Start research by contacting your local officials. Also, contact local utility companies; they will often send a representative free of charge to help you map their lines. In addition, there are private utility locator firms that may be listed online or in your yellow pages. Note: Keep in mind that previous owners may have installed underground drainage, sprinkler and lighting lines without mapping them.

DO read and adhere to manufacturer’s instructions for using a tool, especially the warnings.

DO ensure that the electrical setup is safe; be sure that no circuit is overloaded and that all power tools and electrical outlets are properly grounded and protected by a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). Do not use power tools in wet locations.

DO wear eye protection when using chemicals, sawing wood, pruning trees and shrubs, using power tools and striking metal onto metal or concrete.

DO read the label on chemicals, solvents and other products; provide ventilation and heed all warnings.

DO wear heavy rubber gloves rated for chemicals (not just household rubber gloves) when handling toxins.

DO wear appropriate gloves in situations in which rough surfaces, sharp edges, thorns or poisonous plants could injure your hands.

DO wear a disposable face mask or a special filtering respirator when creating sawdust or working with toxic gardening substances.

DO keep your hands and other body parts away from the business ends of blades, cutters and drill bits.

DON’T – wear loose clothing when working around ladders, chain saws, lawn mowers and live fire pits.

DON’T – work with power tools when you are tired or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

DON’T – carry sharp or pointed tools, such as knives or saws, in your pockets. When you carry such tools, use a pail or a tool scabbard. Keep sharp tools out of the reach of children and away from pets.

Offered below for your viewing is a video entitled, Garden safety for children. 

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  1. Excellent topic Debra...So few, especially novice or new gardeners consider 'digging around in the dirt' qualifies for taking heed of safety issues...& great reminder for the 'seasoned' gardener! So well compiled and useful. Kudos!

  2. Hi Cindyg -

    Thank you for the compliment!

    Many baby-boomers are now grandparents and since it may have been some time since they have shared their outdoor space with children (and their pets), a reminder can be a valuable thing.

    Thanks for being a friend of Gardens Inspired. Happy gardening!


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