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Planning Retirement Online

Garden Safety          May 2006

Succession Planting for Adventurous Gardeners

A special supplement to Gardener's Diary by Rosemary Martin

Safety in the garden is something we often neglect, but according to reports, a large percentage of accidents happen in the garden in the summer, with items such as lawn mowers and hedge trimmers causing the most injuries. So I have compiled a check list of items to check out before the gardening season fully arrives..

Electrical equipment

  • Electrical equipment, including the cables and extension leads should be checked and inspected before each use. 

  • Don't attempt repairs yourself, unless you are a qualified electrician. 

  • An RCD (Residual Current Detector) device should be fitted for outside appliances to be plugged into. These sense electrical leakage or failure and shut down the power to avoid electrical shocks. 

  • Keep all electrical equipment away from wet areas, children and pets. 

  • Take care that you know where or if there are any buried electric cables, when digging.

Garden tools


  • Garden tools can be dangerous if left lying around so take care to tidy up after yourself.

  • Make sure that hand tools are kept in good condition and replace any that aren't. 

  • Never leave a petrol mower running unattended and make sure you wear appropriate safety items such as goggles or ear defenders if advised. 

  • Wear sensible footwear at all times in the garden.

Chemicals and petrol


  • Chemicals and petrol should be kept under lock and key in a cool, dry place. 

  • Make sure that children and animals cannot inadvertently get access to them.

  • Make sure that substances are within the use by date and dispose of them according to the label. Check out the Defra guidelines for disposal that were introduced in 2003

The garden


  • The garden should be free of sharp objects, slippery paths covered in moss, and uneven or unstable surfaces. 

  • Make sure that all the structures and boundaries in the garden are in good repair. 

  • Keep a first aid kit in the house in case of injury. 

  • Wear gloves when gardening to protect hands from cuts and disease. 

  • Protect yourself from the sun. 

  • If you have children or animals in the garden be aware that some plants may be poisonous. 

  • Make sure gates and boundaries are secured to keep children and animals confined. 

  • Ensure that garden toys are safe and in good repair.

  • Always cover ponds or water butts with substantial netting if there are children or pets around, even those visiting neighbours. Or have your pond professionally protected..

  • Lift heavy objects in the correct manner. Your first aid book will tell you how to do this. 



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