SafetyWatch: Hand tool safety


It’s important to keep safety in mind when using different types of shovels

Round mouth shovel

The round mouth shovel is meant for digging, planting and moving material. It has a pointed end for driving into the ground or into piles of material and can also be used to trim sod or cut through thin roots.

Landscapers should be careful about using it to pry heavy objects up or lift heavy loads. The handles are flexible but can break if too much pressure is put on them. Broken handles can also cause injury if they snap. Be careful about lifting too much weight with the shovel. Holding a loaded shovel to one side means unbalancing one’s body. As a general rule, keep the loads light, be very cautious about lifting from the back and don’t twist the body with one side loaded.

Flat or square shovel

The flat or square shovel is designed to move heavy materials like rock, sand and soil. Square shovels tend to be shorter, which means they offer less leverage, and the weighted shovel is held closer to the body. The shorter handle obligates users to bend a bit, so crews should be extra careful to lift with their legs.

Scoop shovel

The scoop shovel is generally used to move granular material like seed and fertilizers. It can also be used to move soil and snow. It’s a deeper shovel, designed to carry volume. Keep the volume light, carry the load close to the body and avoid extending one’s arms with a heavy shovel.


Spades have flat edges designed for cutting and are used to work in confined areas, dig beds, cut sod and do edging.

Be careful not to jab the edge into feet, hoses, buried wires, irrigation tubes and other items that can be punctured. Also, be careful about jamming the sharp edge into hard objects or dry, packed earth as this can damage wrists, elbows and shoulders.

Source: Greenius

LM Staff

LM Staff

Landscape Management's staff brings together collective experience in journalism, research, writing, and editing. Our team stays tapped into the pulse of the industry, covering a wide range topics with a commitment to delivering compelling stories and high-quality content.

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