A&E departments are bracing themselves for a spike in DIY and gardening-related injuries this Bank Holiday with many residents using the long weekend to tackle overdue household tasks.

However, in an effort to reduce the pressure placed on the nation's emergency departments the British Society for Surgery of the Hand (BSSH) has urged people to take extra care.

Dr Ian McNab, a consultant hand surgeon at Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) and member of the BSSH said: "It’s a background problem all the time but obviously when people go out and do a lot of gardening or DIY we tend to see a lot more injuries.

"The team that are on call will be bracing themselves ahead of what they expect will be a bit of a rush."

He added: "One moment of carelessness or one slip of the knife and that can have a life-long impact."

According to NHS Digital data, between April 2016 and March 2017 3,391 people were admitted to hospital after being injured by hand tools and 522 people were admitted after being hurt by lawnmowers.

Such has been the rise in hand injuries over previous bank holidays, the trust, which runs the John Radcliffe and Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Oxford, has in the past had to postpone non-urgent operations in order to cope with the influx of hapless DIY-ers.

Dr McNab said: "We have policies to deal with it. During the winter crisis driven by people getting cold and flu the hospital dealt with that by adjusting things.

This time of year if we get a big spike in hand trauma we have an escalation policy, which will mean some times we have to postpone some elective surgeries, if we get to a point where patients are waiting to long - it happens periodically."

Injuries can range from missing fingers, or even hands, to bruising or smaller cuts and puncture wounds.

Dr McNab added: "We see a real spectrum of injuries such as people getting their fingers caught in hedge trimmers or lawnmowers, to cuts or puncture wounds."

Dr McNab said following simple advice could help avoid serious injury.

He said: "Read the instructions and follow them.

"Wear gloves and goggles and if you’re using a lawn mower wear foot protection and long trousers.

"Make sure your tools are well maintained, it is often blunt blades that are the cause of clogging, if the tool does stop working do not do anything until you’ve switched it off or taken the batteries out.

"Never use your hands to clean the blades, even when they are switched off they are still very sharp.

"Always cut away from yourself, very often we see people cut the hand that is holding the thing they’re cutting - use a clamp.

"There will always be some injuries through faulty equipment or matters outside of our control but around 75 per cent of these injuries could be prevented by taking small precautions."

He added: "We use our hands for communication, for feeding ourselves, for everything we do.

"They are incredibly important and people tend to not have an appreciation of that and can sometimes take them for granted.

"One moment of carelessness or one slip of the knife and that can have life long impact."