According to the Swiss Council for Accident Prevention (bfu), there are more than 14,000 gardening accidents a year in this country, many of them involving falls, slips and twists, or eye injuries. We've put together a few tips to help you reduce the risk of accident:
- Always use a steady ladder when you're pruning trees and tall shrubs, and whenever possible tie it fast to a branch.
- Always wear stout shoes for gardening. That helps prevent slips, twists and foot injuries. Mowing the lawn barefoot is asking for trouble.
- Whatever kind of work you're doing in the garden, there's appropriate clothing to protect you. Safety glasses or goggles, gloves, ear protectors and sturdy, enclosed shoes are standard equipment that should always be close at hand.
- Before working with unfamiliar machines and electrical equipment you should always read the instructions. As soon as you're finished, unplug the equipment or turn off the motor.
- When working outdoors use a residual-current device (RCD) to prevent the risk of potentially lethal electric shocks.
- If you use caustic or corrosive chemicals in the garden, wear gloves, safety glasses and a filter mask. It's even better to use organic substances, which are more environmentally friendly and reduce the risk of toxic accident.
- You must store chemicals and dangerous equipment out of the reach of children.
Besides following these tips, you should make sure you're feeling fit enough to work in the garden. Fatigue, alcohol and stress (because of time pressure) can lead to mistakes and in the worst case an accident.