Fencing Mishaps and Injuries

Tales from the Trenches: Fencing Mishaps and Injuries

Sheridan fencing - Dave Relf

At Sheridan Fencing, with over 40 years of experience in the industry, we’ve seen it all. From the simplest garden fences to the most complex custom projects, our team has tackled a wide range of challenges. However, even with decades of expertise, the unexpected can still catch us off guard. 
Fencing might seem straightforward, but anyone who's spent time digging holes, hammering nails, or sawing wood knows that mishaps and injuries are part and parcel of the job. While health and safety guidelines are critical, the reality of hands-on work often leads to some memorable (and sometimes painful) experiences. Here are a few of my encounters with the unexpected, the painful, and the downright bizarre while fencing and doing garden care.

1. The Caterpillar Calamity

During our days of complete garden care, we were trimming the top of a red-leaved tree. Little did we know, the branches were infested with caterpillars. By the time we finished and headed home, my entire body was covered in red blotches. The reaction was immediate and intense, leading to a frantic trip to the pharmacy. There, the pharmacist gave me some antihistamines and a soothing lotion and advised me to take a long soak in a cool bath. Despite these remedies, the itching persisted for a good week. Lesson learned: always check for creepy crawlies before carrying branches. Next time, I'll be more diligent about inspecting the foliage for any hidden inhabitants before getting too close.

2. Concrete Post on a Toe

This one still makes me wince. On the first hole of the day, instead of sliding smoothly into the hole, a concrete post landed squarely on my toe. I was wearing desert boots—no steel-toe caps. The pain was immediate and excruciating, but I didn't want to look at the damage. Instead, I wrapped my bleeding toe, sock and all, and kept working. The adrenaline kept me going through the day, but once I got home and removed my makeshift bandage, it was clear I had done some serious damage. I lost the toenail and had a very bruised and battered toe. Since then, I've invested in a good pair of steel-toe cap boots to avoid any repeat performances.

3. The Handsaw Incident

We typically used bowsaws for gardening and fencing, but I decided to switch to a handsaw for precision. On my first attempt, the saw slipped and sliced into my hand. It was a deep cut, and I could see some white membrane beneath the skin, which still made me shudder thinking about it. I quickly grabbed the first aid kit, cleaned the wound, and applied a bandage. The pain was sharp and persistent, but I managed to finish the day's work. That incident taught me the importance of maintaining a steady grip and focus when using sharp tools, and to always have a well-stocked first aid kit nearby.

4. The Hammer Horror

Who hasn't had a hammer mishap? We've all ended up with black nails at some point, but one winter day stands out. While nailing in some nails, I missed and hit my thumb. The pain combined with the freezing cold sent a shock through my system, causing me to break out in a cold sweat. The customer, seeing my distress, kindly brought me a sweet tea and some biscuits, which was a lifesaver. I spent the rest of the day recovering in the van, nursing my throbbing thumb. That day, I learned the importance of wearing gloves and taking my time, especially in cold weather when everything seems a bit more brittle and difficult to manage.

5. The Fencing Iron Bar Fiasco

Using a fencing iron bar to crack concrete around posts is standard practice, but even after years of experience, surprises happen. One day, as I was breaking up some concrete, the bar slipped and the top hit me on the forehead. The impact caused more damage than the cut itself, and it bled quite a bit. The customer, who had recently undergone hernia surgery, offered me some of their plasters to strap to my head. It was an unconventional solution, but it worked. I ended up with a makeshift bandage and a story to tell.
Fencing Follies: Mishaps and Injuries on the Job

Fencing and garden care are not without their hazards. Despite the best health and safety practices, injuries and mishaps are inevitable. Sharing these stories isn't just about recounting painful experiences—it's about learning and laughing at the unexpected turns our work can take. So next time you're out in the garden or on a fencing job, remember: to stay safe, check for caterpillars, wear proper boots, and keep a first aid kit handy. And if all else fails, a cup of tea and some biscuits can go a long way.