Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Weeding out the Dangers; Spring's Here and It's Time to Get to Work Outdoors - Diarmuid Gavin Shows You How to Do It Safely

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Weeding out the Dangers; Spring's Here and It's Time to Get to Work Outdoors - Diarmuid Gavin Shows You How to Do It Safely

Article excerpt

Byline: gardening With Diarmuid Gavin

tHE weather is warming up nicely and we've had some very inviting days recently. Many of us are beginning our annual, regular use of the garden.

We know the immense joys and health benefits that can be gained from this, for us and the environment. But gardens can also be dangerous places, especially for youngsters.

They see this release into the great outdoors as a wonderful adventure, but are less than familiar with potential areas of hazard. Most accidents do happen at home and in the garden, and will impact households throughout the land this spring. So here's my guide to keeping safe outdoors.

Cutting through the cable of a lawnmower or hedge trimmer is the most common accident. This can be very dangerous because contact with live wires can cause severe electric shocks or even electrocution.

The safest way to minimise risk in the garden is to use a plug-in residual current device (RCD) when using mains voltage equipment such as lawnmowers and hedge trimmers.

The lifesaving device disconnects the electricity automatically if there is a fault, such as someone cutting through a cable. So it's well worth investing in an RCD if you use electricity outside.

Gardeners plagued by Never use a chainsaw unless you have undertaken a training course on how to do so safely - make sure you wear the proper protective equipment and never operate machinery like this on your own.

If you do a lot of gardening, it's also well worth investing in some protective gear. Wearing eye goggles while hedge-trimming or lawnmowing will protect your eyes from tiny bits of flying twigs or leaves.

Heavy-duty garden gloves will save you from cuts, scratches and soilborne diseases, and steel-capped boots will preserve your toes from lawnmowers or mishaps with spades and forks.

If you use chemicals, make sure these are safely stored away on high shelves out of sight and reach of children, preferably in locked sheds. Never pour chemicals into unlabelled empty drinks bottles or other containers - it's an easy way to lead to accidental poisoning. And, when spraying, wear a protective mask and watch out for spray drift on breezy days. …

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