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Safety Matters


Our blog discussing workplace safety opportunities in Nova Scotia and around the world.

The Gardener's Back

It’s that time of year when the siren’s call of the garden centres and landscape establishments prove too strong for those of us with green thumbs.  After a relatively long and sedentary winter season of poring over seed catalogues and doodling new flower bed layouts on scraps of paper, it’s time grab your rake and “make hay while the sun shines.”

But hold on a minute.  Who among us has not taken the weekend warrior approach to gardening, only to show up at work on Monday morning with sore legs, an aching back, carpal tunnel and tennis elbow?

Like any extreme sport, gardening deserves an athlete’s approach to execution.

Warm up before starting to garden by gently stretching your muscles.  This is especially important if it’s cool outside, as your muscles are more likely to be constricted.

Avoid repetitive garden work for extended periods of time. Alter your position regularly as you work, take regular breaks and drink plenty of water. Shovel a little, weed a little, deadhead a little: repeat.

Don't lift heavy objects. If you must lift something, remember to keep your nose between your toes (don’t twist) and use your legs. Ask for help – some gardening tasks require a buddy.

Use the right tool for the job.  Ergonomic garden tools, designed like a good office chair to work with the body’s natural mechanics, are created to reduce aches and pains. Garden seats, kneelers and scoots are designed to lessen back strain. Wheelbarrows, wagons and carts are great tools for moving heavier loads.

Finally, remember to reserve some time to admire your handiwork, preferably from the ergonomically-friendly deck chair, right next to the beverage caddie.

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