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Safer Gardening

Gardening is Britain?s most popular outdoor activity, but over 500,000 people require outpatient treatment annually for garden-related injuries.

As the weather improves we will increasingly find ourselves drawn into the garden, for relaxation, play, fresh air, and the inevitable physical work that makes it all possible. But a trip to A&E can be avoided, and the following suggestions might help:

1. Think about what you are wearing and dress appropriately for the activity you are undertaking - wear long trousers, close fitting clothes and sturdy shoes with non-slip soles. Also remember the all-important eye protection, heavy gloves and ear defenders.

2. Before you start up machinery, such as your lawn mower, be careful to remove hazardous objects like sticks, stones or glass from the immediate area.

3. Small feet can easily slip under a mower deck, so you should never allow young children to operate garden machinery, even if supervised. When mowing, it is best to assume they will be attracted to what you are doing and run towards you without warning.

4. Ensure your extension cords are in good condition, rated for outdoor use and have the proper current rating for the load. For added protection against electrocution, use an earthing fault circuit breaker.

5. Never operate electric power tools in wet or damp conditions, and always allow petrol-powered machines to cool down completely before putting them back in the shed.

However, the best way to ensure your safety while gardening is to get someone else to do it for you. Whether this is another family member or a hired professional, it is difficult to come to any real harm while sitting in a comfortable garden chair with a gin and tonic in one hand and a trowel in the other!

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