5 tips to help you stay safe with garden DIY
We’ve all been spending more time at home recently, due to the national UK lockdown. Now that we’re well into June, lockdown measures are now finally lifting, and we’re pleased to announce that our own shops have now reopened here at Brown Ladders. But while we might now have more freedom to leave our homes, the warmer temperatures and (mostly) lovely weather means that more and more people are still tackling outdoor tasks in their back garden. Therefore, we decided it’s probably worth quickly recapping some valuable safety tips that it’s good to keep in mind, to help you use your garden ladders and other ladders safely.
Be particularly careful with power tools
If you’ve used equipment like circular saws, chainsaws, angle grinders and other garden machinery before, there’s a decent chance you’ll already be quite confident with them. But don’t forget - overconfidence is exactly how many accidents happen! No matter how well you know your tools, the best way to stay safe is to always treat them like you’re using them for the very first time, and give them the respect they deserve. Move them slowly and deliberately, and don’t rest them on any unstable surfaces, no matter how briefly.
Most importantly - and here’s where a lot of people slip up - don’t make any adjustments, removals or additions to any power machinery unless you’ve made sure it’s off - all the way off, and all moving parts have stopped.
Dress appropriately with the proper PPE
Doctors and hospitals often find severed digits to be a reasonably common consequence of power tool misadventures. While treating the power tool carefully is obviously the first step to avoiding these, it’s equally important to make sure you’re dressed for the job, with the right kind of specialist clothing. That means no matter how warm it is outside, don’t cut the lawn wearing flip flops, or soft sandals! Sturdy shoes are safest, such as steel capped boots.
Hardy gloves are another essential piece of equipment when working outdoors, even if there aren’t power tools involved. You’ll also need a decent set of safety glasses or goggles if you’re using strimmers or similar tools, as it’s not unheard of for stones and other objects to fly up into the operator’s face.
Make sure your workspace is clear
This is another good general rule for almost any type of DIY, but especially true for garden stuff. You’ll always need to have a clear space around you in order to ensure your own safety, and that of everyone else. This is especially important in a place like the garden, given its usual role as a family space where pets and young children are prone to running and playing. If necessary, it might even be wise to lock yourself out there temporarily, especially if you’re using particularly heavy equipment like ride-on mowers.
Check your ladder is safe before you use it
This is something we say a lot, but there’s a good reason for that - it’s because it’s worth repeating! No matter how many times you’ve used your ladder before, you should always give it another quick check before you use it, just in case you identify something that might possibly make it unsafe.
Contrary to what many people believe, falls from short heights can be just as dangerous as falls from longer ones. Before you step foot on it, make sure that it’s sturdy, stable and that it can absolutely take your weight. You may need to move it to a different working surface if necessary, such as hard patio rather than soft ground. (That’s where our garden ladders come in handy, by the way - they use a third leg to stabilise themselves on soft ground like grass or mud, providing extra safety value and peace of mind.
Use the correct ladder for the job
On a related note, one of our top safety tips for working in the garden is to always make sure you’ve got the right ladder! You wouldn’t attempt to mow the lawn wearing roller skates, so similarly, don’t try and jury rig just any ladder for the task at hand. It’s quite common for people to rest extension ladders against trees - or worse, hedges - while they’re working on them, but ideally these should only be used on more stable surfaces where they can be fully, properly secured. Again, this is where garden ladders are worth their weight in gold! Similarly, make sure to keep your hips inside the guardrails at all times. A significant proportion of injuries are down to people leaning out too far from their ladders!
And if you need to get yourself a new ladder that’s perfect for the job at hand, you’re in exactly the right place. Here at Browns Ladders we’ve got a huge variety of garden ladders, combi ladders and stepladders in stock right here on our site, so feel free to browse our range to find which one’s right for you. Our Brierfield shop is now open to customers (with Covid-19 safety measures in place, of course), so don’t forget that you can always pop in!