A few classy outdoor appointments can transform a simple home into a cozy, elegant residence: Neatly trimmed hedges, a few tasteful shrubs and bushes, flower beds, a perfectly manicured lawn. A beautiful garden radiates style and grace, but also demands a lot of attention and upkeep. That’s why many of us use gardening tools and machinery that will speed up the process and free up time.
Homeowners and gardeners all over Australia utilise hedge trimmers to keep hedges perfectly level and trimmed. Some even use trimmers to sculpt otherwise boring shrubs into fanciful figures like elephants and even real-world landmarks. Despite its convenience and versatility, one wrong move can cost the user a limb or even their life. That’s why it’s important to follow a few simple rules to ensure safe trimming and cutting.
1 – Do some basic reading
Make sure you’ve read and understood the trimmer’s manual, as well as other pamphlets and labels that contain warnings and instructions. The user manual should contain everything you need to know about the hedge trimmer: technical specifications, operational instructions, warnings and safety precautions, and the manufacturer’s contact information.
2 – Keep to yourself
Never operate the hedge trimmer near other people, especially children. Same goes for pets and other animals. You might expose yourself and other people to danger. Make sure there’s a distance of at least 50 to 80 feet between you and the nearest person. Do not lend the trimmer to anyone as a toy.
3 – Dress properly
Always wear protective gear and clothing before starting the unit. Basic protective gear include: safety face shield or goggles, ear protection, no-slip work gloves, steel-toed boots, long pants, and a respirator. Do not wear loose clothing or any other item that might get caught in the mechanism. Tie your hair up so that it’s out of the way.
4 – Sharp and clean cut better
Before turning it on, make sure the blades are sharp and free of obstruction. Dull blades are less efficient and safe and are more likely to rebound.
5 – Check before you flick
Inspect the hedge trimmer for visible signs of moisture or damage before turning it on. Repair or replace parts as needed.
6 – Keep it dry
It should be a no-brainer that you shouldn’t operate electrical tools and machines in rainy or wet weather. Doing so might cause electric shock, electrocuting you and damaging the trimmer. If you’re out working and see storm clouds on the horizon, stop working immediately and head for cover.
7 – Use both hands
Never attempt to operate a hedge trimmer with only one hand, and always make sure to use the proper handles or strap while using it. Obviously, you should keep your hands away from the blades.
8 – Shut it down
Always make sure the trimmer is switched off before doing maintenance, cleaning, clearing an obstruction in the tool, before plugging it in (for the corded models) or even while carrying it. If your hedge trimmer is a battery-operated one, remove the battery before attempting anything on it. Don’t keep your finger or hand on the tool to avoid accidental startup.
9 – Steady as she goes
When using a hedge trimmer, make sure you’re on a firm, level surface. Don’t overreach and wear slip-resistant, steel-toed boots. Never, ever work from a ladder or a stool. For hard to reach areas, always use a scissor lift or an equivalent.
10 – Stay sharp
Under no circumstances should you operate a hedge trimmer while intoxicated. Alcohol isn’t the only thing you can’t consume before working — any substance that might impair your sight, hearing and ability to focus like over-the-counter medication shouldn’t be taken as well.
11 – Take a break
Always take frequent breaks, especially during prolonged operation. The vibration caused by the hedge trimmer might cause a condition called Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome. Once the injury has fully developed, it is irreversible. Damage to the hand’s nerve endings will lead to reduced dexterity and impaired motor skills.
Hedge trimmers are one of many gardening tools that we use to keep our gardens and lawns in a crisp beautiful state. They also save a lot of time and effort which could be used for something leisurely like reading a book or listening to a new album.
Many people wrongly think that gardening tools and machines aren’t as dangerous as power tools found in workshops. They are dead wrong. Despite appearance and function, hedge trimmers can be incredibly dangerous. Following these simple safety tips enables you to enjoy your lovely garden while keeping all your fingers intact.