Mowing your lawn: a dreaded task that you and all of your neighbors look forward to every weekend of the summer, right? At first glance the process of mowing your lawn seems like a fairly simple task. Operating a lawn mower, however, requires preparation and careful consideration of safety issues. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 60,000 injuries are treated by hospital emergency rooms each year because of unsafe operation of power lawn mowers. Read on to learn a few tips on how to safely mow your lawn and have the best looking yard in the neighborhood.
1. Lawn Mower Maintenance – Keep lawn mowers in good working order.
• When using a lawn mower for the first time in a season, have it serviced to ensure that it is working correctly.
• Be sure the motor is off before inspecting or repairing lawn mower equipment.
• Use a stick or broom handle (not your hands or feet) to remove debris in lawnmowers.
2. Operate Your Lawnmower Properly
• Read the instruction manual before using a lawnmower.
• Do not remove safety devices, shields, or guards on switches.
• Add fuel before starting the engine, not when it is running or hot.
• Do not leave a lawn mower unattended when it is running. If you must walk away from the machine, shut off the engine.
• Stay away from the engine cowling, as it can become very hot and burn unprotected flesh.
3. Use Caution
• Wear protective gloves, goggles, sturdy shoes, and long pants when you use lawn mowers. Never mow barefoot, or in sandals or flip flops.
• Do not drink alcoholic beverages before operating a lawn mower.
• Hands and feet should never be used to touch the lawn mower blade under any circumstances, even if the engine is off. If there is debris obstructing the blade, once you clear it, the blade can quickly swing around and cause serious injury.
4. Keep Track of the Kids – Lawn mower safety is of the utmost importance when kids are out and about.
• Children should never ride as passengers on riding mowers or be towed behind.
• Be aware of where kids are and keep them clear of the work area.
5. Survey Your Yard
• Lawn mower blades can pick up and throw small objects like twigs, woodchips, and rocks, as well as small toys.
• Use caution when mowing hills and slopes. Mow across slopes with a push mower to avoid pulling the mower over your feet if you happen to slip. Mow up and down slopes with a riding mower to prevent the mower from tipping over. Do not cut wet grass.