Top Tips for Eye Safety When Working in the Garden / On the Farm

Every year, people lose an eye or suffer very severe damage to one or both eyes due to accidents in the garden or on the farm.

The problem is, it’s easy to see the dangers of eye injuries in an industrial context. For example, few people would consider for a moment, machining steel on a lathe without a guard or eye protection. Yet somehow, when it comes to chores outside, all too often that caution gets forgotten.

Yet the typical garden or farm can involve dangers for the eyes. So, here are a few top tips to help recognise dangers and in all these cases you should protect your eyes by wearing suitable safety goggles or a full face protector.

  • Using ‘strimmer’ type machinery. Don’t be fooled by the machine’s simplicity, as stones and sticks can fly up easily.
  • Although perhaps slightly less of a risk than with a strimmer, even so, walk-behind lawnmowers can also at times throw up a splinter of wood or a stone at a freakish angle. It’s also NEVER a good idea to remove the grass box or lift up the guard flap while the engine is running.
  • Walking alongside or near a sit-on mower or tractor while it’s cutting, is potentially dangerous for your eyes due to splinters shooting off at strange angles. Don’t just trust to on-machine guards to protect you.
  • If you’re driving a tractor without a cab, again it might be a smart idea to wear face, eye and ear protection. Most responsible providers of agricultural machinery will usually have a stock of safety accessories too.
  • Be careful when cutting branches from trees. If you’re looking up and cutting with an extendable saw or shears, then branches or twigs can easily come down directly into your eye. On a related subject, it can be even riskier for the eyes if you’re working in a tree or dense bush. ‘Snap-backs’ with branches can easily blind and people regularly suffer serious eye injuries in exactly this fashion even if it sounds unlikely.
  • Hedge-trimmers can also be a serious risk. That’s because they’re often used at or near face-height.
  • Tensioners have also been known to cause problems. Tensioning can put a lot of force into wire and the tool and snapping’s not unknown.
  • Power saws and drills can both throw off splinters, whether you’re working on wood or metal. Don’t overlook also the seemingly harmless hammer. Giving something a good ‘whack’ might be therapeutic but yet again, splinters can fly off.
  • Finally, think about liquids too. Many substances used in the garden or around the farm can be very dangerous for the eyes. Drips can happen easily and if you’re painting or spraying above head-height, then that could spell danger.

It’s true that you can’t spend your entire life refusing to leave your bedroom for fear of an accident damaging your eyes. However, protective eyewear is available for a tiny price and getting into the habit of using while you’re working just might end up saving your eyesight.

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