Why is it that the Brits have more interesting gardening news than us? According to this article in the Telegraph, gardening injuries land 87,000 of our friends on the other side of the pond in the hospital every year. (we’ve done the math for you–as a percentage of the population, that would be roughly equivalent to 438,000 injuries in the US. And in fact, a 2004 estimate of garden tool injuries in 2004 put the number at about 400,000.)
Let’s review the numbers, shall we?
6500 were injured by a lawn mower. In the United States, about 80,000 people per year require hospitalization for lawn mower injuries. According to the US study, "The rate is about half the number treated for firearms injuries
annually. In addition to strikes from flying projectiles, the most
common causes of injury for people over age 15 were non-specific pain
after mowing and injuries occurring while servicing the mower. The most
common injury requiring hospitalization was fractures of the foot.
Flower pots (carrying them? Having them thrown at you?) cause 5300 injuries in the UK. We were unable to locate statistics on flower pot injuries in the United States, but there has been some talk of flammable flower pots, perhaps related to them being used as an ashtray, at Consumer Reports.
Forks, shears, spades, hoses, and other such hazards accounted for the remaining injuries. Overall, if you account for all the people who didn’t go to the hospital but perhaps should have, roughly 300,000 Brits are injured in the garden each year, and apparently it’s all the fault of Alan Titchmarsh and Gardener’s World on the BBC. Here in the US, we do have some overall stats for gardeners age 65 and older–100,000 injuries and 51 deaths (the deaths including "tripping on garden hoses," chainsaws, and garden tillers, but mostly lawn mowers were to blame. Especially riding mowers that tend to roll off embankments.) But no such detailed study on the under 65 crowd, alas.
Gardening. It’s a grim business. Be careful out there.