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Health and Safety Guidelines for allotment users

  • Do not drink the water from the tanks or standpipes

  • Wear gloves whenever handling soil, compost, fertiliser or pesticides. Thin latex (or latex-free for allergy sufferers) gloves can be worn for delicate work

  • Do not open bags of compost or potting media with your head right over it

  • Fold over the top of compost bags when not in use

  • Avoid potting-up in confined spaces

  • Moisten dry potting media before use. Also dampen down dry compost heaps before turning or use

  • Consider wearing a dust mask when turning compost heaps and handling potting media or other dusty materials

  • Avoiding storing potting media in greenhouses as these will heat up and may encourage Legionella

  • Empty the water out of garden hoses after use and do not leave full hoses in the sun after use

  • Avoid splashing water around when watering pots

  • Wear gloves and keep arms covered when pruning plants that can cause irritations; e.g. ivy (Hedera), Fremontodendron, Euphorbia or rue (Ruta)

  • Only shred woody prunings in an open, well-ventilated area

  • Ensure tetanus jabs are up to date. Otherwise, see your local GP for a tetanus vaccination if you have cut yourself on a plant or got soil or manure in an open wound

  • Discourage rats by securing rubbish in bins and not putting cooked food on the compost heap

  • Rat-proof compost bins with wire mesh if necessary. To reduce the risks from salmonella avoid using rat-infested compost on edible crops, especially those not cooked before consumption

  • Protect from water-borne diseases such as Weil’s disease by wearing waterproof gloves, clothing and boots when clearing out ponds

  • Always wash your hands after gardening and especially before eating

  • Keep a hand sterilising gel down in the potting shed if clean water is not available

  • Children should always be accompanied by an adult and supervised on site