Hand Tools – Part One: Using Them Safely

If you are an experienced gardener, then you don’t need anyone telling you how important hand tools are in maintaining a successful garden. Tools in the category of gardening hand tools include rakes, shovels, spades, forks, and pruning utensils.

More than 28,000 gardeners nationwide end up in hospital emergency rooms each year due to accidents using hand tools.
(Courtesy: Nancy Ross at flickr.com)

Although these tools are not associated with things that could cause major injuries, one can still receive a minor injury including bruises, cuts, sprains back problems, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

You are probably not aware that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that about 205,000 wrist, hand, and finger injuries occur each year that results in the victim losing time at work. Moreover, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are more than 28,000 cases nationwide in which the victim of a gardening hand tool mishap had to be treated in a hospital.

Simply selecting the right tool for the job and properly maintaining and using them can avoid most of these injuries.

The bottom line is that gardeners need to be familiar with the tools they use to avoid accidents.

There are a few things to keep in mind when using a garden hand tool.

· Select the right tool for the job.
· Choose tools that match the strength and size of the user.
· Maintain and store tools properly.
· Do not use hand tools under the influence of alcohol or drugs or when tired.
· Maintain proper posture when using hand tools.
· Wear protective equipment including goggles, gloves, appropriate clothing, and steel-toed shoes to prevent injury.

This is the first article in a series that will discuss hand tools. The articles will run as follows:

· Part Two – Rakes. In this article, we will define what a rake is, the different type of rakes available, and how to safely use them.
· Part Three – Shovels, spades, and forks. This article will define each tool including how they are used. It will also describe the different type of shovels, spades, and forks available, and how to properly maintain them.
· Part Four – Pruning. This article will define pruning tools, explain what they are used for, the type of pruning tools available, and how to maintain and use them safely.

About Robert Janis

Written by Robert Janis for LawnEq - Your specialists for Lawn Mower Parts and Small Engine Parts. We offer genuine premium OEM parts for Land Pride, Toro and many more dependable manufacturers.