You can avoid injury in your garden by taking the following precautions:
- Be sure you know how to operate the equipment. Know where the controls are and what they do. Don’t remove or disable guards or other safety devices.
- Dress appropriately for the job. This includes: sturdy shoes with slip-resistant rubber soles, long pants and long-sleeved shirts, close-fitting clothes, eye protection, heavy gloves, hearing protection when needed, and no jewelry, which can get caught in moving parts.
- Before starting, walk around the area in which you will be working to remove any objects like sticks, glass, metal, wire and stones that could cause injury or damage equipment.
- Never take a child for a ride on a garden tractor or riding mower.
- Keep children indoors and supervised at all times when any outdoor power equipment is being used. Young children move quickly and are attracted to mowing activity.
- Never assume children will remain where you last saw them. Be alert and turn off the mower if children enter the mowing area. Use extra care when backing up or going around corners, shrubs, trees or other obstacles.
- Never work with electric power tools in wet or damp conditions. For protection against electrocution, use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). GFCIs come in several models, including a portable plug-in type.
- Be sure extension cords are in good condition, are rated for outdoor use, and are the proper gauge for the electrical current capacity of the tool.
- Before making adjustments or clearing jams near moving parts, unplug electric tools and disconnect spark plug wires on gasoline-powered tools.
- Be sure that power tools are turned off and made inoperable if they must be left unattended. This will help prevent use by children.
- Never fill gas tanks while machinery is operating or when equipment is still hot. Wipe up spills. Store gas in an approved container away from the house. Finally, never smoke or use any type of flame around gasoline.
The bottom line is the best way to avoid finger amputations and other injuries is to keep your wits about you when working with machinery, knives or any appliance with moving or sharp parts while in your garden.
If you become bored or too at ease while using a potentially dangerous piece of equipment, such as a lawn mower or power tool, you are likely to be less careful, and that’s when accidents tend to happen. Staying alert and taking your time when using machinery are the best ways to keep your fingers, hands and limbs safe and preventing injuries to yourself and others.