By Eloise Evans on 21/03/2016

With the beginning of spring, we welcome the weather getting warmer, the start of longer days and more chances in the garden. However, with this extra time in the garden, there is a danger that any gardener faces.

Over 300,000 people go to hospital each year due to an accident in the garden, and a third of that is from electrical gardening tools, such as lawn mowers or hedge trimmers. The safety guidelines on these appliances are simply not clear enough and are not written with enough caution. 18% of men say they would never read an instruction manual, compared to 13% women. This does correspond with the amount of men who have an electrical accident in the garden which sits at 41%, whereas the amount of women who have accidents is halved at 20%. This means that the people who don’t read the manuals are more likely to have an accident. So, if you want to stay safe, read the manual!

The accidents that are most likely to happen are when gardeners cut through the wire of the appliance as this accounts for 25% of all garden accidents. This could be as simple as running over the wire whilst mowing the lawn but can lead to injury, severe electric shocks or even death by electrocution. This serious danger can be solved with a very simple solution. A Residual Current Device (RCD) disconnects the electricity automatically if there is a fault. This means that when you cut through the wire, the power will stop and you will not be electrocuted. However, this small life saver is not used by over two thirds of gardeners either because they have never heard of it or don’t bother using one.

The importance of this small device needs to be understood by gardeners, and should be explained clearly on packaging or with a warning tag on the plug so that gardeners are made aware of RCDs, even if they don’t read the instructions. The charity Electrical Safety First even suggest that RCDs should be included as standard with any electrical gardening equipment. They believe it is the manufacturers responsibility to warn gardeners about these dangers, however they are falling short of these responsibilities. They are not putting enough warnings on their products and advice about the use of RCDs is presented in complicated ways in the manuals and the danger of not using one is not stressed enough.

A lot of these accidents are usually due to a lapse in concentration and simply forgetting to be safe when gardening. It’s easy to do; imagine it is a lovely day, you’re cutting back the overgrown hedges from winter with your secateurs and stop paying attention for a second and, chop! There goes the tip of your finger. Or you’ve just filled a flower pot but need to move it somewhere else, you don’t lift it properly and out goes your back. Or imagine it looks like it’s going to rain but you promised yourself you would cut the grass today. You’re rushing to get it finished as it has just started spitting. In your haste, you run over the already wet cable and knock yourself out from electrocution. These things are easy to do, but the most life threatening is the one with the electrical equipment. It is important to stay safe in whatever you do and never lose concentration in whatever task is at hand, but when using electrical gardening equipment, remember these tips:

  • READ THE SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS!
  • Use a Residual Current Device – if you don’t have one built into your fuse box, buy a plug in one to use with any outdoor electrical equipment.
  • Any electrical equipment should be stored in a dry place and checked before use for any damage.
  • When checking, adjusting or cleaning, turn off and unplug any equipment.
  • Know where the power cable is at all times!
  • NEVER use electrical gardening equipment in wet conditions!

 

 

Image Source: Freepik

Post Source: Electrical Safety First

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