Most injuries are easily prevented
Safety is EVERYONES responsibility
In Emergency DIAL 999
- Physical Exercise. Digging the soil is one of the most physically demanding tasks in gardening, as it involves continued bending and straightening of the back when lifting a spade of soil. It needs to be approached with care, particularly if you are not used to heavy work. Take regular rests.
- Hazardous Rubbish. Ensure that you do not leave broken glass and other hazardous materials on the allotment. If you discover a significant amount of rubbish underneath the soil, such as broken glass, plastics etc, then this should be removed from the plot using Personal-Protective-Equipment such as gloves.
- Tetanus or Lockjaw. Tetanus (or lockjaw) This is a serious infection caused by bacterium that lives in the soil and especially manured soil. It enters the body through the tiniest abrasion, scratch, thorn, puncture or cut and a few days or weeks later the illness hits. Please make sure that you have a vaccination that can protect you against tetanus.
- Skin Irritations. Wear gloves and a long-sleeved shirt when pruning plants that can cause skin irritations, for example ivy, euphorbia or rue. There are many other Plants that can Cause Significant Skin Problems ... so ALWAYS take care and REMAIN PROPERLY COVERED when strimming or cutting plants
- Garden Tools. Garden tools can be a hazard if they are not stored properly or are left lying around the garden when not in use. Upturned spades and forks and rakes are classic items which could cause severe injury. Never allow yourself to be distracted when operating garden tools.
- Pesticides and Fertilisers. The use of pesticides should be avoided unless approved by the Allotment Committee. If you do keep such chemicals, ensure that they are kept securely locked in their own cupboard in your shed or storage area, away from children and in clearly marked containers. Do not keep them in lemonade bottles or other food containers or leave them lying around your plot. When using pesticides or fertilisers ensure to wear suitable clothing. Please ensure that pesticides or fertilisers are disposed of responsibly. Pesticides should never be included in household rubbish, burnt, placed in skips or poured into any kind of drainage system or watercourse.
- First Aid Kit. A first aid kit is a wise addition to the tools kept in the garden shed. A small selection of adhesive plasters, antiseptic ointment, a pair of tweezers for removing thorns and splinters and a gauze or lint pad to use as a compress to stop the bleeding if you are badly cut.
- Power Tools. Most power tools need specific safety and handling training e.g. power chainsaws, strimmers, lawn mowers with metal blades and rotavators. A large rotavator can be a bit of a strain to control, so take it easy while you get used to it. Always follow the manufactures instructions. Nobody is to use any of the allotment machinery until they have completed training on it by a member of the committee.
- Legionella. In very hot weather, especially in green houses, it is possible, although very rare, for Legionella (Legionnaires’ Disease) to multiply in warm water to potentially harmful levels. Avoid storing potting media in greenhouses or spraying fine mists. Never wash hands in stored water. Never drink stored water. Always wash hands in clean tap water once finished working and certainly before touching food.
- Ponds, River & Water . No pond or standing water should exist on site. The river has a water pump for irrigation of allotments. EXTREME CARE should be taken if this water is stored and any container should be periodically emptied and sterilised to try and reduce the build-up of dangerous bacteria, viruses and other hazards. The risks associated with storing water, from either the tap, the river or collected rain water are held by the individual storing the water …... ie YOU! Avoid spraying non-tap water and never allow the water to become converted in to an airborne mist.
- Drowning. People at most risk of drowning in ponds and rivers are children. The river has very muddy banks and occasional fast-flowing water with few areas to egress the river once anyone has fallen in. If possible avoid going to the river when you are the only one on-site, and no children should be allowed anywhere near the river. Children should be monitored when anywhere near the river.
- Children on Site. Children are more prone to all risks to a far greater extent. Children should be supervised on site at all times and must not go on to anyone else’s plot. They should also not be allowed near the river and briefed and monitored for any specific risk or hazard that may arise from time to time. Particular care should be taken near where cars may go.
- Accidents Involving Cars. The entrance to the site is particularly hazardous. Please take EXTREME care when exiting the site and make maximum use of the mirrors on the opposite side of the road. Try and reverse in to parking spaces where able and be wary of pedestrians when manoeuvring.
- Vermin. Rats carry 70 diseases including Weil’s Disease, which can cause human death via contaminated water. Plotholders must be vigilant and report any signs of infestation, which include burrows, tracks, droppings and observing the vermin. Contact the Committee to report problems.
- Hazards for wildlife on allotments. These include: litter, low-level fruit netting, use of pesticides, open drains, slug pellets, mowing, strimming, broken glass and pre-stacked bonfires. Certain wildlife e.g. badgers, slowworms, some birds of prey and reptiles have specific legal protection concerning their management.
- Risk of Infection. Humans are at risk of infection from handling animal manure. Always wear gloves when handling any type of manure. Fresh manure should be heaped for 6 months, giving time for E-Coli to break down. It is the responsibility of the plot holders for basic hygiene and to check tetanus boosters are up to date. Stopping for a lunch break helps restore energy after lots of digging but don’t forget to wash your hands first. Keep a hand-sterilising gel handy. Always wash your fruit or vegetables thoroughly before eating them.
- Personal Safety. Allotment gardeners often spend long periods of time on their own on site: take personal safety seriously and tell another person where you are going and what time you will be back. If you have a mobile telephone take it with you. Always securely close the gate behind you upon leaving the site. Consider the use of Personal Protective Equipment, especially eye protection, to prevent injury. Branches, bushes, the top of garden canes, can all cause serious damage.
- Fires. The Environmental Protection Act (1990) prohibits a statutory nuisance being caused by smoke. Check weather conditions to ensure that there is not significant wind that may blow smoke on to roads, do not leave a fire unattended and ensure that it is completely put out with water before you leave.
- General Hazards. Plotholders should ensure that their plot and associated accesses are free from hazard: hazards may include sharp edges, exposed nails, improperly stored tools, hazards hidden within undergrowth such as discarded tools, improperly stored dangerous materials. Please remember that every individual is legally responsible for any hazard that they allow to develop on their plot or in the communal area.
- Unauthorised Site Access, Vandalism & Theft. Only Plotholders and their invited guests are allowed on site. Plot-holders should report vandalism or other evidence of intruders to a member of the committee for reporting to the police. Plot-holders should ensure that the gate is kept closed at all times when the site is un-manned.
- Dogs. Some Plotholders have been allowed to take dogs on site providing that their dogs remain under control at all times, clear of anyone else’s growing area, and that all instances of dog faeces are cleaned up immediately. NO OTHER DOGS are permitted on site. Any instances of dog faeces being discovered should be reported to a Committee Member.
- Slipping. Be aware of weather conditions that can affect walking surfaces, especially on grass.
- Sun Burn and Sun Stroke. To protect agains the Harmful Eeffects of the Sun, use sunscreen.
- Misc Risks. PLEASE HIGHLIGHT ANY RISKS that you feel are not included, and the Committee will consider including them.