Harper College

Gardening and Outdoor Safety

With people spending more time and money on gardening in the United States, it is important to make sure you are staying safe outside while doing yard work. Below are some helpful tips to keep in mind while you are gardening and enjoying the outdoors this summer.

vegetable basket

Dress to Protect - Use Personal Protective Equipment

  • If using powered tools or equipment wear safety glasses, sturdy shoes and long pants
  • Protect your hearing by using ear plugs or muffs when using loud machinery
  • Wear gloves to protect your hands from blisters, fertilizers, pesticides, bacteria, fungi, and sharp tools
  • Use insect repellent to protect yourself from garden pests, like ticks and mosquitoes

Check out this helpful infographic from the University of California, Berkeley on Ergonomic Tips for Home Gardening

  • Try some warmup exercises before starting your physical activity
  • Use safe body mechanics when lifting, squatting, or doing other tasks
  • Protect your knees
  • Wear a good pair of gloves
  • Use tools and equipment to help make work easier
  • Be mindful of heavy loads, and break down into multiple smaller parts when possible
  • Minimize repetitive fine motor motions
  • Take frequent rest breaks

American Society for Surgery of the Hand’s mission is, “to advance the science and practice of hand and upper extremity surgery." Check out Gardening Safety: How to Garden Pain-Free | The Hand Society (assh.org) Some helpful tips include:

  • Wear gloves when working outside
  • Avoid prolonged repetitive motions
  • Use Tools, not your hands
  • Use the right tool for the job
  • Check your posture

Additional Resources

Outdoor Safety

For anyone planning some outdoor recreational activities, at home, in a park or out in the wilderness, check out the U.S. Army website on Outdoor Safety for some excellent resources.

Forest Path

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s, U.S. Forest Service website has some excellent resources on recreational activities and outdoor safety tips. (General Safety Tips include: Trail Tips, Camping Tips, Lightning, If You Get Lost, Checklist)

  • Travel with a Companion
  • Be in good Physical Condition
  • Think about your footing while Traveling
  • Wear Appropriate Clothing
  • Check Your Equipment
  • Be Weather Wise
  • Learn Basic First Aid
  • Make Camp Before Dark
  • Be Alert for Slippery Areas
  • Alcohol and cliffs don’t mix!
  • Think before you Drink (water in streams)

Additional Resources

  • “Save lives, from the workplace to anyplace. The National Safety Council is America’s leading nonprofit safety advocate. We focus on eliminating the leading causes of preventable injuries and deaths.” Check out their website on Seasonal Safety, which shares helpful tips on warm weather and cold weather activities.
  • Pool Safely from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is "a national public education campaign to reduce childhood drownings, submersion injuries and entrapments."
Last Updated: 12/14/23