Fears lockdown will increase DIY and garden injuries

Image shows close up of fingers by circular saw blade

The sun is out, the country is in lockdown and many people will be using the time to tackle gardening and DIY projects at home.

While keeping busy is a good idea, specialists at Morriston Hospital in Swansea are concerned this could put the NHS under further and unnecessary strain during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Springtime and the improving weather usually lead to a rise in avoidable injuries caused by equipment like power tools and lawn mowers coming to The Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery.

But consultants are concerned the large numbers of people now at home will make matters worse.

Image shows head and shoulder shot of surgeon Tomas Tickunas Consultant plastic and hand surgeon Tomas Tickunas Credit: SBUHB “Be really careful with power tools (circular saws, chain saws, angle grinders, garden machinery etc) and generally sharp objects during the COVID-19 epidemic,” said consultant plastic and hand surgeon Tomas Tickunas.

“We should really reduce the number of patients coming to the hospital. So any avoidance of potential injury would be really beneficial not only to the NHS but also to patients, who may otherwise experience significant delays in the care of their injuries.”

Common injuries include severed fingers and toes and even hands and feet.

These often occur when people cut the lawn while wearing flip flops or soft sandals and attempt to adjust equipment without unplugging it, right.

Unsafe ladders can also lead to falls and broken bones, while barbecues can cause burns.

Even deckchairs have been known to sever fingers.

Dean Boyce, clinical director of The Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastic Surgery, said: “People may want to use this nice weather to get on with DIY tasks, but we would urge them to take care because we regularly treat a number of patients who lose fingers from circular saws.

“We’ve also had to treat patients who lose the tips of their fingers with hedge clippers, or lose toes when mowing the lawn. Always wear sturdy footwear, not open-toed sandals.”

Image shows close up of fingers by lawnmower blade. The Welsh Centre for Burns and Plastics want people to be careful when doing gardening work to avoid adding pressure to the NHS
Credit: Adobe Stock

Here are a few tips for staying safe and supporting our NHS:

 

DIY

  • Wear sturdy shoes or boots.
  • Take extra care when using power tools. Use protective equipment such as gloves or safety glasses if you can.
  • Secure ladders before use and don’t overreach while working at height.
  • Switch off and unplug machines before making adjustments.

 

In the garden

  • Wear sturdy shoes when cutting the grass or using the strimmer.
  • Wear safety glasses when using strimmers because stones and other objects may fly up into your face.
  • If using a ride-on lawnmower, don’t allow children or anyone else to ride on your lap. The safety cut out will not work if they fall as the operator will remain in the seat.
  • Switch off and unplug machines before making adjustments.
  • Be extra careful when lighting barbecues and garden fires. Do not use petrol or other accelerants. Foil tray barbecues placed directly on patio slabs will cause them to superheat often leading to serious burns.
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