About 300,000 people are hurt in their gardens each year seriously enough to go to hospital - 110,000 of them are children. Around 87,000 are injured actively gardening or carrying out DIY jobs in the garden.
RoSPA’s top ten list of most dangerous garden tools is:
1. Lawnmowers (6,500 accidents in the UK each year)
2. Flowerpots (5,300)
3. Secateurs and pruners (4,400)
4. Spades (3,600)
5. Electric hedgetrimmers (3,100)
6. Plant tubs and troughs (2,800)
7. Shears (2,100)
8. Garden forks (2,000)
9. Hoses and sprinklers (1,900)
10. Garden canes and sticks (1,800).
Electric mowers and other power tools must always be used with an RCD - residual current device - which will cut off the power quickly in the event of an accident. Maintenance must never be carried out while the mower is plugged in. It’s best not to have children around when mowing the lawn. Many of the mower accidents happen when people cut themselves cleaning the blades, while lots of people trip over flowerpots or are injured moving them.
Men have more accidents in the garden than women and, apart from children, people aged 30 to 60 are most likely to be injured.
The most common accident in a garden is a fall (115,000), but the biggest threat to people actually gardening is a cut (19,000), then falls (18,000) and being struck by things (12,600).
Gardens are places where people want to relax and perhaps that’s why so many accidents happen there. Simple measures such as putting on gloves could prevent many of the cuts. Wearing strong shoes and trousers when mowing the lawn rather than shorts and sandals can help. Chemicals should be stored out of sight and out of reach of children and tools should always be tidied away after use.
The figures are based on the Department of Trade and Industry’s Home Accident Surveillance System report 2002.