Trained fruit
Keeping a garden tidy can be a lot of work

There’s no denying that electrical appliances can make gardening a lot easier – when you’re faced with a thicket that needs cutting back, an unending hedge that needs trimming, or a large lawn to mow, there are few people who have the time and energy to reach for a manual tool to do the job.

But using electricity in the garden isn’t as straightforward as using it indoors. According to Electrical Safety First, more than 300,000 people end up at the hospital every year as a result of an injury they’ve sustained in the garden. Of those, a third have been caused by electrical appliances. 41% of UK men who garden regularly have had an electrical accident in the garden (compared to 20% of women), at least partly because they are less likely to read the safety instructions….

With conditions outside (hopefully!) damper than indoors, and necessary contact with the ground, the risk of injury from electric shock is greater outdoors, and 25% of garden accidents involve cutting through an electrical cable.

With a little care and forethought, it’s possible to greatly reduce the risk of using electrical tools in the garden. As with all gardening tasks, it’s important that you’re properly dressed – no popping out in your flip flops to do that little bit of strimming!

And you should always ensure that you’re protected by using an RCD (a Residual Current Device) that cuts the power in the event of a fault or an accident. You can buy portable devices, or an electrician can fit an RCD-protected socket for you, if you prefer. Either way, you should test the RCD when you use it, to make sure it’s still working properly and can protect you.

Store your electrical tools properly, away from moisture and little hands, and check them over before you use them, to make sure they’re in working order. And don’t use them in the rain!