Top tips to stay safe while using power tools this summer
It’s that time of year again, outdoor work season is upon us. Gone is the rain and the cold (for the most part), and it’s time to crack out the lawn mower, the hedge trimmer and the chainsaw, to tackle those outdoor jobs that you’ve been saving for sunny days. As well as the power tools, you’ll probably need a ladder for those hard to reach jobs, that’s where we’re on hand to help - with over 70 years of experience in supplying a range of lightweight, sturdy garden ladders, you can count on us to help you get the job done here at Browns Ladders.
All of years of industry experience means that we’re pretty up-to-speed on the risks often involved with ladder-related jobs - here are some of the biggest ones to watch out for.
Before getting started
When you’re working outdoors with electrical equipment, you’ll want to take a couple of safety measures beforehand to ensure that the risk to your health is as minimal as possible. When working with any equipment that’s plugged into the mains, we highly recommend using a residual current device (RCD). The device detects electrical faults and disconnects the power supply before any harm can occur. It’s added to the main switchboard (often referred to as the fuse box) or to the actual socket used for garden purposes to ensure protection from electric shock.
These devices are well worth investing in, as they can potentially be the difference between life and death should anything go wrong. As a final tip - be sure to use the test button on the RCD to make sure it works, and investigate for faults if it trips.
Mowing the lawn
A common summertime chore for a lot of people here in the UK. We know how it goes; after months of growth, your garden is starting to look a bit wild and untamed, so you turn to the lawnmower to help you restore a sense of order to your garden. Now, as useful as it unquestionably is, there’s still some important things to keep in mind when using your lawnmower to make sure you don’t end up on the wrong end of it.
When using a lawnmower, keep the cables, connections and plugs free from damage, as this can lead to exposed wires and electric shock
Do not cut grass in wet conditions - as we were all taught in school, electricity and water don’t mix! Plus, cutting the grass in wet conditions presents an increased risk of slipping and falling
Wear shoes that protect your feet (not sandals) - most people would rather not be short of a toe!
Make sure everyone is inside when you start cutting the grass - they can endanger themselves, or endanger you if they’re distracting you. That’s a particular concern with very young children
Push don’t pull - it can be tempting to pull your mower backwards occasionally, but try and resist that temptation. Pushing your lawn mower around the garden keeps you in control of where it goes. By walking forwards and pushing the mower, you’re not at risk of tripping while walking backwards
Before doing anything like cleaning grass blockages, make sure you unplug the lawn mower and wait until the blades have stopped turning
Trimming the verge
As well as mowing the lawn, hedge maintenance is another task that’s generally carried out between spring and summer. Whether it’s a full bush or a small shrub, it still requires a trim. If you’re opting for an electric hedge trimmer to help you get the job done quickly and efficiently, just remember that there are a few things that can go wrong.
The key things to remember when using a hedge trimmer include:
- Wear safety goggles and sturdy gloves
- Before starting, remove any obstacles on the ground - this leaves plenty of room for your ladder, should you need one
- Don’t use the trimmer above head height
- Always hold the hedge trimmer with both hands, well out in front of you
- Use a residual current device (RCD)
- Place the cable over your shoulder to avoid cutting it
- If you encounter a tough patch of growth, don’t force the hedge trimmer over it as it could rebound and cause injury
Let’s be honest, we don’t need to illustrate the potential dangers associated with working with a chainsaw. However, while everyone knows they’re dangerous, those who don’t use them regularly might struggle to fully identify each individual risk they can pose - so no matter what your level of experience with them, it’s always worth refreshing your knowledge before you pick one back up again, just in case!
Here’s what you need to look out for:
- The green thumb grip - keep a steady grip on both handles; your thumbs and fingers must be completely wrapped around the handles. It’s also very important to hold the thumb of your left hand under the front handle, as this reduces the force of any potential kickback
- Close contact - hold the saw closer to your body for better balance, and stand with your feet apart with your left foot slightly in front of your right
- Keep your knees bent - don’t work with a curved spine, bend your knees instead when working in low positions
- Moving the saw - the chain must not be rotating when you are moving to another spot. When moving, activate the chain brake or turn off the engine
- Maintain a safe distance - ensure that no one is closer to you than 3-5 metres when working with a chainsaw.
So, that’s the essentials covered! These tips can help give you some valuable peace of mind as you complete your summer jobs, but if you’re still a little hesitant or uncertain you can get the job done safely, we’d always recommend asking a professional.
Here at Browns Ladders, we’ve got a wide range of fibreglass steps, and fibreglass ladders that are perfect for use in gardening situations where you’re handling electrical tools. We’ve got more than 70 years of experience with access equipment here at Browns Ladders, so if you ever need any advice, answers to any questions, or if you simply can’t find a specific product you’re looking for, feel free to get in touch with us by giving us a call on 01282 615517. We’re always happy to help!