Working in the garden entails risks that you can minimize by observing the following guidelines.
Step 1: Wear safety goggles Wear safety goggles whenever there is a risk of small particles flying through the air -- for example, when pruning or using a lawn mower.
TIP: Wear earplugs when operating loud equipment.
Step 2: Wear gloves Wear gloves to protect your hands from skin irritations and cuts.
Step 3: Wear pruning attire Wear pruning gloves, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants when pruning small trees and shrubs. Wear a safety helmet when cutting heavier tree limbs.
Step 4: Avoid too much sun Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. Garden early in the morning or late in the afternoon on hot days. Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, a long-sleeved shirt and trousers, and a broad-brimmed hat.
TIP: Stay hydrated -- drink plenty of water in warm weather.
Step 5: Use an insect repellent Use an insect repellent containing DEET to ward off mosquitoes and ticks.
Step 6: Have a tetanus vaccination Keep your tetanus shots current. Tetanus lives in the soil and can enter your body through breaks in the skin.
Step 7: Be careful mowing the lawn Take adequate precautions when mowing the lawn. Wear safety boots with steel toes and long trousers made of heavy fabric. Now you can garden and know you're practicing it safely.
FACT: Injuries in the U.S. associated with lawn mower usage have increased 7 percent from 2008 to 2010.