Precautions while using Garden Tools

1. Forks :
A garden fork is a much larger version of an eating fork to look at. It is, in effect, a spade with tines rather than a blade and is used for tilling the soil, aerating it and for digging perennials and root crops but is useless for digging holes. To keep your soil turned and in good condition however, a fork is vital.

2. Spades :
The garden spade is the quintessential British digging tool. It has an almost flat, rectangular blade and is ideal for digging, removing clinging sods between paving flags, cutting through roots, edging your borders and trenching. It s not as good as a shovel, however, for turning soil or for scooping things up.

3. Cleanup :
Like all other jobs, yard work also ends with cleanup.
This involves cleaning the surrounding work area,
cleaning the tools, and storing them properly. While
equipment such as blowers are more popular, brooms, brushes, rakes, and hoses are also used widely for
cleaning work areas and tools. Rakes are used to gather
grass clippings, leaves, and other debris and collect
them into trash bags or tarps for proper disposal and
or composting. Brooms, brushes, and water hoses are
used to clean the walkways, driveways, and sidewalks.

4. Keep tools sharp :
Anything used for cutting needs to be kept sharp, using a file or small carborundum stone.
It is a good idea to check your tools frequently to see if they need sharpening. They will reward you by producing a neater finish with much less effort.Eventually, some blades will require some serious work to restore a correct cutting edge. This might be the time to replace them or take them to a professional who has the correct equipment and experience to do the job properly.

5. Personal safety equipment :
Always make sure that you are wearing the correct Personal Protective Equipment PPE to avoid a serious injury when working in the garden. This is particularly important when operating machinery such as mowers, strimmers, chainsaws and hedge trimmers. PPE can include steel toe caped boots, goggles, ear defenders, gloves etc. Always consult an expert if you are unsure what you should be wearing for a job.

6. Shovels :
When describing shovels here, it doesn t mean the type you associate with coal and the fireplace. A shovel, in gardening terms, looks very similar to a spade but has a slightly concave blade with a rounded bottom edge. You often see these used when road workers are digging up roads to lay tarmac. They re ideal as a multi purpose tool and can be used for scooping, turning, digging and moving soil, gravel, sand, compost and other materials without destroying your back.

7. Handle with care :
As a gardener, you use a lot of tools, but your hands are among your most precious. Shield them from harm with sturdy, well fitted gardening gloves. Sure, you ll feel a visceral pleasure when you yank up that main, gnarled root of some nasty weed, but you may also dredge up bits of broken glass or shards of old metal along with it. Bare hands risk cuts, scrapes, blisters, as well as exposure to chemicals, pests, and potential allergens or irritants. Even with gloves, your hands will need a thorough washing up once you ve finished your tasks. Also, some chemicals used in the garden can be harsh on your hands or, even worse, can be very dangerous if inhaled or accidentally consumed be extra vigilant when children are around . In terms of children, also keep in mind that bulbs and seeds can be choking hazards, and some plant varieties can be toxic if eaten.

8. Transplanting spade :
Transplanting spades have a long narrow head which makes them ideal for digging and moving perennials and shrubs with minimal disturbance to surrounding plants. They are excellent for digging narrow piping ditches.

9. Things to remember :
Ignoring safety precautions and using the wrong tool for the job are common causes of gardening injuries.Rotate your gardening tasks to avoid repetitive movements. For example, after 15 minutes of raking, swap to pruning for a while.Always wear gardening gloves to protect your hands against cuts, soil, potting mix, insect bites and skin irritants.

10. Maintenance :
Keep metal blades of all tools sharp and well oiled.Check regularly for loose and worn out parts on tools and replace them if necessary.Lightly sand and clean wooden parts regularly and
treat them with a 50 50 mixture of linseed oil and turpentine.Identify damaged tools and store them in a designated location to allow either the supervisor or maintenanceperson to arrange for their repair.Workers should know that the job is not complete until the tools are cleaned and stored in a designated location.

11. Pruner maintenance :
Many injuries can be avoided with proper maintenance
and storage of pruning tools. Dull, sticky tools
may cause slipping, which, in turn, can lead to cuts and
other injuries. After each day?s work, wipe the blade
clean with a dry cloth and lubricate the movable handle
shaft and spring. Sharpen blades whenever extra effort
is needed to make the cut. Adjust the blade or replace
worn out parts when the cut is not clean.

12. Safety as Top Priority :
Gardening tools and equipment, whether powered or not, can cause serious injury. It is wise, therefore, to ensure you are clear on the correct way to use each item and that you examine equipment for potentially dangerous faults before you use it.

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