Health and Safety Risks in Gardening
As spring and summer arrive and the weather warms up, gardening becomes a popular pastime for many once again. During the autumn and winter months, gardens often get neglected as the cold weather puts many off from going out to perform tasks such as clearing leaves.
Despite being quite a sedate activity for most of the time, gardening still has a great variety of health and safety risks, particularly from some of the tools and implements that are used. The danger posed by sharp objects such as shears and secateurs is obvious, and automated blades in machinery like lawnmowers and chainsaws can cause serious injury in sufficient safety precautions are not followed and the equipment used correctly. Other health and safety issues include things like the use of hazardous substances (weedkiller, lawnmower petrol etc) which could harm if coming into contact with the skin or accidentally ingested, along with manual handing dangers if heavy items need to be moved or carried, such as clearing heavy paving slabs or carrying equipment.
As well as being a recreational activity, many people perform the maintenance of natural landscapes as their occupation. These workers will face these particular dangers virtually every day, and often using more powerful and potentially more dangerous equipment. To give an example, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) say that workers in the forestry industry are six times more likely to be killed at work than somebody in the construction industry, which shows how dangerous certain types of outdoor occupations are. For these people, being sufficiently trained and attending health and safety courses can be the difference between life and death, either for themselves or for fellow workers nearby.
Certain high risk activities may require a permit to work (PTW) system to be implemented, in which case those involved in creating or working to the system will require permit to work training in order to understand exactly what a permit to work system is and how to ensure that it is implemented and followed correctly in order to prevent an accident from occurring.