This summer has been so dry that our yards aren't growing as fast as normal. Still, they have to be mowed from time to time. In the old days, with manual mowers, safety was not a big issue. But with more and more powerful gas or electric mowers, there is a real chance of injury if certain precautions aren't taken. The Web site GrassTools.com not only has good tips for proper mowing techniques, but also has a page of safety precautions. Here are some of the most important ones:
Mowing the lawn can be a dangerous activity. Just look at the statistics. Each year there are more than a hundred thousand injuries due to lawn mowing. Mowing can be a safe activity – even a common activity if the following precautions are taken.
- Wear protective gear at all times, especially on the feet. Most injuries with lawn mowers occur to the feet while they are not protected.
- Do not mow up hills as the mower may roll backwards and create injury for the operator. Always mow across hills to ensure injuries are avoided.
- Have the blade sharpened by professionals – if you choose to sharpen the blade yourself it is important to wear protective gloves while sharpening and use short strokes while filing the blades.
- Never refuel a running mower. This is dangerous. Gas is flammable and should not be heated and added to a running engine.
- Never leave a mower running while unattended. It is important especially with a self propelled lawn mower.
- Ensure that electric mowers have no frayed cords. Frayed cords could cause shock, or severe burns. It is important to be careful when running an electric mower to not run over the cord.
- Be sure to store fuel in recommended and approved containers to prevent fire hazards.
- Be sure to inspect the lawn mower before each use for safety, vibration, and loose bolts. It is important to check the hardware of the mower, as well as any and all wires attached.
- Use a mower with a locking mechanism in case the mower gets away from the operator.
- Remove all objects and debris from grass to ensure that flying debris doesn’t get thrown up to hit the operator.
- Always turn off the mower and await the cessation of the blades before traveling over any surface other than grass.
- Do not allow children to operate a lawn mower.
- Do not allow children to be passengers on ride-on lawn mowers. The child could easily fall and be run over by the mower.
- Mowers should be refuelled and started outdoors. Gas is a very flammable substance and should be stored in proper containers and fuel never added to a recently running lawnmower. Always ensure that gas is added to a cool lawnmower – to avoid the risk of fire.
- Prior to attempting the sharpening of mower blades the lawn mower should be in the off position and the spark plug should be removed. Once the spark plug is removed the power source to the mower is disconnected. There is no chance of the mower accidentally starting in this case.
- Never mow in reverse, there is a chance that the mower could back onto your limbs causing bodily harm.
- Never ride a ride-on mower up a slope. This could result in the operator falling from the mower and causing grave injury. Riding mowers are at high risk to roll if driven at high speeds or on rough terrain.
- Always read the operating manual before performing any landscaping activities.