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Health considerations for gardeners

Gardening - A Source of Relaxation

Gardening is a tranquil source of relaxation for many who do it as a hobby or as a leisurely means to pass time. Creating the perfect garden to suit your tastes to go along with the overall outlook of your home is a thing many people take seriously and as such it is no surprise that the activity has gained commercialization.

Many gardening firms have sprung up to offer up their services in this field. Coupled with expertise and experience most probably garnered from their own gardens, they provide this service to those in regular need of it.

Despite its mellow and soft-sounding nature and consideration as a hobby, gardening involves a lot of hard work. Mix that with the having to be outside under the sun for a considerable amount of time, getting down and dirty with the earth as well as dealing with garden chemicals, quite a lot of thought goes into it. As a result of the lengthy sunlight exposure as well as handling dirt and chemicals arises an aspect of gardening that many people fail to consider important. That is that they can have considerable health risk to either you or your gardener.

Sources of Health Risks for Gardeners

If you are wondering if there are health risks in gardening? Well, the answer is yes. In this part, we delve a little into some of the common health risks associated with gardening:

I.    Sunlight over-exposure

Though at times one may not really ‘feel’ the sun, over-exposure can lead to various skin complications like sun-burns, accelerated ageing of the skin as well as formation of uncomfortable blisters. Legionnaires disease is a particularly problematic condition that can occur on your skin. As such it is of utmost prudence to ensure you look after your skin’s safety.

II.    Infectious agents

A lot can be said under this particular point and here we highlight a few of them. Such agents of infection come in a lot of forms such as:
-    Bacteria i.e. in the form of tetanus.
-    Parasites like threadworms.
-    Harmful insects such as bees or wasps which can attack you.
-    Viral agents that cause diseases.

III.    Chemicals

Some gardening chemicals are actually quite harmful to humans and some unaware of their toxicity may end up in harm’s ways if they handle them poorly.

IV.    Mechanical/Motorized Tools

Some gardening tools can be quite hazardous given their nature. Aside from the usual sharp edged tools, mechanical tools which move/rotate at high velocities can easily injure someone who uses them incorrectly.

V.    Heavy Lifting

Some aspects of gardening involve a little bit of heavy lifting but despite this, they can be quite hazardous as they can cause muscle strains as well as back and other muscle pains.

VI.    Unfavourable weather

Various health risks are associated with the weather depending on what the weather is. For example there are extremely cold days as well as extremely hot days just to mention a few obvious ones.

VII.    On-site security

Random attacks from strangers or home-owner pets, though not so frequent are still plausible.

Keeping these hazards in check

As seen above, quite a number of hazards exist for your gardener and as such you an employer need to take proper and adequate action to ensure their safety as they work on your garden.

A few ways in which this can be achieved are as follows:

Availing protective gear

These come in very handy to curb a number of the above mention hazards. Handling toxic chemicals or the garden dirt as well is where gloves would come in handy. A simple and common protective piece of clothing that is easily available.

Other forms of protective gear include:
-    Goggles
-    Ear muffs in the case of handling very noisy equipment.
-    Long-sleeved gear to lessen the area of skin exposure to extreme sunlight.

Going over safety procedures

Doing this with your gardener avails you a chance to advice about health and safety while working the garden. 

Highlighting the need to do things like:
-    Properly and carefully handling motorized equipment so as to prevent injuries.
-    Advising the need to vaccinate against common diseases that can be contracted during the gardening process.
-    Putting on protective gear.

Minding the weather

It would be prudent if many people took note of this point since many seem not to. Working your gardener during extreme weather is counterproductive since they may fall ill and as such end up not working your garden as you had scheduled.

Minding special conditions

This simply means not asking your gardener to operate machinery while under medication.

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