Regardless of whether you garden for pleasure, profit, or both, be sure to use the necessary safety habits and equipment to help keep the results of your activity pleasurable. As with any enjoyable activity, gardening can quickly turn tragic when basic safety guidelines aren’t followed.
Gardening injuries happen yearly, ranging from knee and back strain to eye, ear, and skin damage. Some sources of injury come as no surprise, while others can catch even the most seasoned gardener unaware.
In addition to injury from simply overextending ourselves, other common safety hazards while gardening includes:
- Poisonous plants: One woman in Seattle found herself in the ER after a Euphorbia plant shot poisonous sap into her eye.
- Gardening chemicals: Many chemicals can seriously damage eyes and skin and cause illness if ingested.
- Sun damage: Sun exposure can damage skin and lead to skin cancer and early signs of aging. It can also harm the eyes and result in eye disease and permanent loss of sight.
- Foreign body: Anything from bugs, blades of grass, and dirt can fly into the eyes while gardening, even if you’re extremely careful. In some cases, these elements can also irritate your skin.
- Gardening tools: An Arizona man suffered eye damage after he dropped his pruning shears point side down, leaned down to grab them, and fell on their face first. The shears became lodged in his head and had to be surgically removed.
- Hearing damage: Motorized equipment such as lawn tractors, weed eaters, and leaf blowers can cause cumulative damage to unprotected ears.
- Cuts & abrasions: For obvious reasons, the hands probably receive the most cuts and abrasions when gardening, but the arms and face also get them often.
Fortunately, preventing gardening injuries comes through some straightforward and inexpensive solutions. Consider the following options:
- Splash goggles offer comprehensive protection when working with gardening chemicals or poisonous plants. Even something as simple and inexpensive as the Pyramex G205T Indirect Vent Goggle with Clear Anti-Fog Lens can provide quick and easy protection for those few times a season you’re handling chemicals.
- Wrap-around sunglasses: Many safety sunglasses are available to provide impact protection and protection from the sun. The wrap-around style guards not only against UV rays but also helps keep foreign bodies like grass, dirt, and bugs away from the eyes.
- Hearing protection: While lawn equipment may not seem too loud, it can cause cumulative damage. Be sure to protect your hearing with earmuffs or earplugs, especially when regularly using or near noisy equipment.
- Gloves: Not just for the workplace, quality work gloves will comfortably fit your hands to help maintain dexterity and protect your hands from scrapes and cuts.
- Basic skin protection: Make a habit of wearing sunscreen, brimmed hats, and bug spray. Also, consider whether wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants might provide the best protection for the gardening task you’ll be tackling next.
While considering safety in the garden, don’t forget to monitor pets and children. But, then, let’s keep gardening, something everyone can enjoy safely!
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