First posted on Landscape Juice in March 2008

I have just read, with interest, the article by James Alexander-Sinclair on the BBC Gardeners World Blog, about how music can be an essential part of the working day.

Music does help some to relax into the task you are doing. Music is also inspirational and I am sure can help most creative people take their work to another level.

However, as an employer, I would be now more than concerned at how music could lead to staff to become pre-occupied and not concentrate on their work, leading to serious accidents - even death!. 

Personally, I prefer silence when I am carrying out a manual task. It helps me stay focussed on what I am doing.

But, the biggest risk when listening to music in the landscape gardening and gardening world is safety.

Mowing is a very therapeutic job if you like grass, but otherwise is can be mundane, drawn out and pretty heavy going, especially if you do it all day.

However, being able to hear the sound of the engine is essential. It not only means you can react quickly when there is a fault with the engine itself, but you can also hear the change in tone when the underneath becomes clogged with damp grass.

An operator is also able to determine if they have hit debris such as stones or wood better and take the appropriate steps.

I have witnessed landscapers who are using or driving machinery wearing earpieces with music that is clearly audible to anyone in the vicinity.

This is an obvious safety risk to them and, I not only think it should be discouraged, but should be banned under health and safety legislation.

Being unable to hear your co-workers, the every day sounds of other machinery operating around you, with the constant distraction of thumping music in your head, is not conducive to a productive and safe working environment.

I full appreciate having a small transistor radio in the potting shed or on a patio wall whilst pointing. In these surroundings it is part of the all-round sound but, ear pieces tend to block general noise.

If you are operating potentially dangerous machinery, think about your safety and those that are around you and remember, under the health and safety at work act, you have a duty of care to yourself and those that work with you.

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  • As a rule of thumb, I do not play the radio or wear headphones when I working in the garden. The only exception is when I am working in the glasshouse potting on or in the barn servicing a customer's lawn mower or treating the outdoor furniture. When I worked for the NT we were not allowed to play music in the garden nor wear headphones due to stringent H&S rules and I have continued this in my own business. Furthermore, contractors could not do so either and a lot of them find that incredulous. Many would pretend they didn't know, but it was in the contract and exchange of information. As an aside other rules like, wolf whistling, wearing unsuitable clothing, swearing, not complying with H&S and so forth lead to a few confrontations!

    I suppose in some ways it like driving a car with the music on loud in a bubble of our own world. Just dangerous in my view.
  • PRO
    I've just charged the peltors up ready for the week! Not worn them since about November as it's been hedge cutting and other tasks that I'm not fussed about listening to music. But big week on the grass this week so next task is to download some tunes!!:)
    • PRO
      Lots of podcasts at the ready here!
    • PRO

      Absolute 80's or Gold for me

This reply was deleted.

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