Safety First! Tips & Tricks For Safer Growing
A grower who is forced to sit on the sidelines because of an injury is also likely to suffer from poor yields. Don’t let this happen to you! Keep a few of these safety tips in mind to avoid injury to person and plants.
Gardening may seem like a pastime without a lot of danger involved, but it is important to keep some safety precautions in mind to prevent accidents. This is especially true if children or pets are living in the household. Ensuring your gardening space is always safe can help you enjoy your favorite pastime with peace of mind.
- Sharp gardening implements should be put in a safe and secure place where they can be easily accessed only by the gardener. This can prevent overstretching or other injuries, and accidently stepping or kneeling on tools. It also keeps keep them far out of the reach of children.
- Electrical devices should be thoroughly inspected before use to ensure they are still in good working condition. For instance, heat mats should be inspected for any damage that could cause them to overheat. Cords on grow lights should be examined for any cracks or creases that could become large issues.
- When using gardening tools or other gardening supplies, be sure to use the proper safety equipment. Gloves, eye protection and respirator masks are all useful in your space. Depending on your gardening projects, steel-toe shoes and hard hats might also be needed. It may seem like overkill at first, but if an incident were to occur, you will be relieved you took the extra precautions. Be safe, not sorry!
- Fires may not seem like a hazard for a gardener, but it is still handy to have a fire extinguisher in case a fire breaks out due to your grow lights or other light bulbs, and other devices that could create a fire hazard. Follow the manufacturer’s directions if it is necessary to use your fire extinguisher. If you already own a fire extinguisher, check the expiration date as you would not want to go to use it and have it not work.
- If you have tiled or wooded floors your growing space, you’ll need to implement precautions for water spills. Using carpeting or other types of non-slip materials can assist with this issue. Also be mindful of your footwear. How slippery are your shoes?
Fertilizers and Other Chemicals
- Fertilizers and other chemicals should be put in a safe and secure area to prevent any accidental spills or ingestions. Using a locked cabinet or child-safety device can be a good way to keep these items secured. It can be easy to fall out of practice with locking the cabinet up, so posting a little note as a reminder is a good way to reinforce locking these items up.
- Try to keep all chemicals and fertilizers in their original packaging. This way, all pertinent information will be readily available in case of ingesting, inhalation or other accidents. You are also less likely to mistakenly mix the wrong chemicals if it is clear which items are which. If you do need to use another container due to a rip or crack in the original package, make sure the replacement container is sterile so you prevent any cross-contamination and be sure to label it clearly thoroughly. Keep the original packaging if possible.
- Always use chemicals and fertilizers according to the manufacturer’s directions to ensure you do not poison your crop. If the package does not spell it all out for you, ask the retailer for further instructions.
- Even innocuous items like potting soil may have dangerous properties if inhaled or ingested as some are fortified with fertilizers or may contain the Legionella bacterium, which causes Legionnaires’ disease, so take precautions like a respirator mask and gloves when handling, if you are not sure.
You, the Gardener
- Do a quick warm-up exercise to get yourself ready for your gardening tasks. You want to get your muscles ready to move.
- Try not to keep doing repetitive tasks for long periods of time as this could result in injury. Switching up your routine can help with this issue.
- Stay hydrated to prevent dehydration or other health issues.
- When lifting heavy items, remember not to life with your back, but with your knees and legs.
- Don’t overstrain or overwork yourself. This is usually when preventable accidents occur.
Not every accident can be prevented, which is exactly why they are called accidents, but there are things that can be done to help prevent some of the more common incidences that occur in an indoor garden. Following through with this checklist can help protect the safety of you and your loved ones.