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Regardless of whether you garden for pleasure, profit or both, be sure to use the necessary safety habits and equipment to help keep the results of your activity pleasurable. Just as with any enjoyable activity, gardening can quickly turn tragic when basic safety guidelines aren’t followed.
Gardening injuries happen every year and range from knee and back strain to eye, ear and skin damage. Some sources of injury come as no surprise while others can catch even the most seasoned gardener unaware.
In addition to injury from simply overextending ourselves, other common safety hazards while gardening include:
- Poisonous plants “” One woman in Seattle found herself in the ER after a Euphorbia plant shot poisonous sap into her eye.
- Gardening chemicals “” Many chemicals can seriously damage eyes and skin as well as cause illness if ingested.
- Sun damage “” Sun exposure can damage skin and lead to skin cancer and early signs of aging. It can also harm eyes and result in eye disease and permanent loss of sight.
- Foreign body “” Anything from bugs, blades of grass and dirt can fly into eyes while gardening even if you’re extremely careful. In some cases, these elements can also irritate your skin.
- Gardening tools “” An Arizona man suffered eye damage after he dropped his pruning shears point side down, leaned down to grab them, and fell on them face first. The shears became lodged in his head and had to be surgically removed.
- Hearing damage “” Motorized equipment such as lawn tractors, weed eaters and leaf blowers can cause cumulative damage to unprotected ears.
- Cuts & abrasions “” The hands probably receive the most cuts and abrasions when gardening for obvious reasons, but arms and face also get them often too.
Fortunately, preventing gardening injuries comes through some very simple and inexpensive solutions. Consider the following options:
- Splash goggles “” Goggles offer comprehensive protection when working with gardening chemicals or poisonous plants. Even something as simple and inexpensive as the Pyramex G204 Indirect Vent Goggle with Clear Anti-Fog Lens can provide quick and easy protection for those few times a season you’re handling chemicals.
- Wrap-around sunglasses “” There are a lot of safety sunglasses available to provide impact protection along with protection from the sun. The wrap-around style guards not only against UV rays but also helps keep foreign bodies like grass, dirt and bugs away from eyes too.
- Hearing protection “” While lawn equipment may not seem too loud, it can cause cumulative damage. Be sure to protect your hearing with earmuffs or earplugs, especially when using or near noisy equipment on a regular basis.
- Gloves “” Not just for the workplace, quality gloves like the PIP G-Tek Maxiflex Ultimate Gloves contour to your hands to help maintain dexterity and protect hands at the same time.
- Basic skin protection “” Make a habit of wearing sunscreen, brimmed hats and bug spray. Also consider whether wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants might provide you with the best protection for the gardening task you’ll be tackling next.
While you’re considering safety in the garden, don’t forget to monitor pets and children too. Let’s keep gardening something everyone can enjoy safely!
Spring is here and it is always a good time to review important ways to protect your eyes now that you will be spending more time outdoors, enjoying sports, gardening or just basking in the warm spring sunshine.
Protective Eyewear for Home, Garden & Sports
Sunglasses and wide brimmed hats are the first things to consider as you go outdoors. The damage from UVA/UVB rays from sunlight is ever present, even on cloudy days. It is also cumulative and can lead to cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Don’t forget to use sunscreen generously, helping to prevent a painful sunburn and skin cancer. If you perspire a great deal, think of a waterproof sunscreen that will not run into your eyes causing blurry vision and irritation.
In your backyard or garden it is wise to use safety glasses or goggles when operating a chain saw, axe or hedge clipper. They will help to prevent small flying objects, dirt and debris from getting into your eyes. Tree sap and plant secretions can also be hazardous to your eyes. Wearing gloves should make you think twice about rubbing your eyes, or at least you can remove them if you can’t resist.
Home maintenance and spring cleaning offer some of the same threats as gardening. Beware of using any regular or power tools, paints and chemicals without protective eyewear because of flying debris, drips, splashes and sprays. Besides the general eye irritations and painful corneal scratches, you could permanently impact your vision. Also take care if your children are helping or playing nearby, they could also be at risk.
Spring is a great time to get outdoors and enjoy your favorite sports, but if you engage in any activities that involve throwing and catching balls, “flying” arms and elbows (such as karate), swinging bats, sticks or clubs, or anything that involves shooting (such as paintball or airsoft), you need protective goggles that wrap around and protect you from all angles. Not every threat will be coming from directly in front of you.
For these sports and recreational activities prescription eyeglasses, sunglasses and even occupational safety glasses are not enough to protect your eyes. You will need a highly impact-resistant polycarbonate to avoid a lens that can shatter and cause additional danger to your eyes. Consult your eye care professional to choose the right kind of eye protection for your warm weather activities.