Off-the-Job-Safety: Yardwork Leads to Blisters, Hand Injuries

Oct. 13, 2004
Even after the leaves are raked, the bulbs are planted and the lawn is seeded for fall, the blisters, splinters, cuts and sprains from the hands-on work linger on for many homeowners.

In fact, emergency rooms treat more than 400,000 outdoor garden tool-related accidents each year, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Americans are gardening in record numbers, as four of five households now have a yard or garden, and nearly one in three homeowners plan to undertake a major landscape upgrade, according to the Garden Writer's Association Foundation.

With this increase in gardening come more frequent and more serious hand injuries hand injuries that can keep your employees off the job. Although ergonomic designs and low-vibration tools are more prevalent, many homeowners are taking on larger and more complex projects, such as building decks, adding sheds, putting in foundation plantings and installing water gardens or irrigation systems.

To avoid injuries in the garden, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, recommends protection, preparation and proper tools. Number one on the list: gloves. Proper gloves reduce blistering, protect skin from fertilizer, pesticides, bacteria and fungus, splinters, thorns, pests, poison ivy and prevent sunburn and nail damage.

What is a proper glove? The cotton, flowered garden glove of old is obsolete. Today's garden gloves feature high-tech materials and advanced design that reduce hand fatigue, eliminate friction and dampen vibrations while protecting the hand. Ironclad Performance Wear, which produces high-tech work gloves, suggests that the same performance offered in work gloves can be useful in garden gloves. Features such as a protected knuckle area and reinforced fingernail guards; washability; reinforced thumbs, saddles and fingertips; breathability; adhesive grips; and seamless fingertips that increase the sense of touch in the fingertips make gardening easier and safer for the hands.

Other precautions recommended by the American Society for the Surgery of the Hand:

  • Avoiding prolonged repetitive motions
  • Watching for buried objects when digging
  • Using the right tool for the right job
  • Using proper ergonomic posture
  • Avoiding tools with form-fitting, contoured handles that only fit one-sized hand.

For more information on garden safety, visit www.handcare.org and for glove information visit www.iclad.com.

Ironclad Performance Wear, which created the performance work glove category in 1998, continues to lead the construction and industrial markets in innovation, technology, design, advanced material science and durability. Millions of Ironclad wearers swear by the performance and protection of their Ironclad gloves. Ironclad designs, manufactures and sells a comprehensive line of task-specific gloves, available at hardware stores, lumberyards, rental centers and industrial suppliers nationwide. To see the full line of Ironclad Performance Wear gloves or find an Authorized Ironclad Dealer, go to www.iclad.com. Ironclad Performance Wear is headquartered at 12506 Beatrice Street, Los Angeles, California 90066.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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