There are some important health and safety issues on the allotments which should not be overlooked. Many hazards exist on the gardens and trouble can strike at any time – it is best to be prepared. The site covers around 75 acres with miles of pathways and avenues and it can be very easy not to be heard or found if no one knows you are there. For the emergency services, anyone in trouble can be very hard to find amongst the maze of gardens.
Here are a few tips that can help
- Try not to do dangerous work on your own or when neighbouring gardeners are not about.
- Do not do too much work in one go, have regular rests, and never carry out dangerous jobs when you are tired, as this is often when accidents can happen.
- Clean and protect all cuts with waterproof plasters.
- Wash hands after any gardening activity and before eating or handling food. Always bring drinking water when it’s hot weather.
- Wear gardening gloves to protect your hands, although remember never to wear a glove on your hand which is holding a swinging tool such as a slasher, grass hook or axe. This will help prevent the tool from accidentally slipping out of your grasp.
- There is a lot of broken glass on many of the plots, so wear appropriate gardening footwear, ideally with a thick sole and steel toe caps to prevent injury from standing on anything sharp or dropping something heavy on your toes.
- Never leave tools where you may trip over them and never leave pronged tools with their prongs pointing upwards.
- Keep paths clear of algae as these can become slippery when wet.
- If using a ladder, make sure that it is well supported and never over-reach.
- If you have a pond on your garden, always keep an eye on any children. Children find ponds fascinating and can easily topple in by accident. Put fences around ponds if you have very young children.
- Let a friend know when you are going to be working on the allotments and for roughly how long.
- It is a good idea to carry a mobile phone with you. Make sure you know how to describe where your garden is. Know your garden number and put it on your gate!
- Know some basic first aid and have a first aid kit on your garden or with you, make sure it is kept clean and up to date.
- If you find yourself in trouble shout for help. If you are in serious trouble and no one is there to help, use your mobile phone if you have one and call 999. You will need to be able to direct the emergency services to where you are on the allotments site. If you are unsure of directions call STAA on 0115 9589255 and tell them what has happened and where you are which will mean knowing your garden number. They can then help and direct the emergency services to you. (Please note that this telephone number will only be useful during normal working hours).
- If someone is with you and they can get help, arrange for someone to meet the emergency services at the entrance gate to the site. They can then unlock the gates and direct the emergency services to you much more quickly once they have arrived at the site.
- If you are able to talk to the emergency services tell them as much as possible about what has happened as this can save time when they arrive at the scene.
- Keep yourself warm. Do not panic and try to keep calm.