Like many tools we use that make our lives easier, a lawn mover can also be very dangerous if not treated with the proper respect and caution. Literally tens of thousands of people are injured every year because of accidents involving mowers. In some cases these injuries can be life-changing events that leave people with a permanent disability, and they are all the more tragic because they are completely preventable.
Here’s a few safety tips to keep in mind that will help prevent injury to you or your family:
Check your yard for debris before you mow.
A spinning lawn mower blade can turn a rock, stick, golf ball, or other small object into a missile. Do a quick walk-thru of your yard before mowing to make sure there aren’t any hazardous objects present that you wouldn’t want to run over with a mower. This is especially important in the fall, when leaves on the ground can conceal hazards.
Wear protective clothing.
Be sure to wear closed-toed shoes, pants, work gloves, and eye protection when mowing. This may be less comfortable, especially in warm weather, but it’s still more comfortable than a wound.
Don’t add gas to a hot mower.
If your mower runs out of gas, let it cool down before adding more. Also, don’t store a hot mower near gasoline, or smoke anywhere near gasoline.
Never work on a running lawn mower.
Don’t try to clear clogs or do other maintenance on a mower while it is running. Always turn off the equipment first.
Keep children and pets away from running mowers.
Children don’t know the difference between a running mower with the blades turning vs not turning. Don’t let children ride on a riding lawn mower even with blades disengaged, because it teaches them that it’s safe to approach a running mower. Also, don’t operate a riding lawn mower in reverse with the blades turning.
Don’t tamper with safety features on your lawn mower.
At the risk of stating the obvious, safety features on mowers are there for a reason. That reason is probably that at some point, somebody like you was injured or killed because of the problem the safety feature is designed to prevent. Let these features do their job–don’t mess with them or try to disable them for the sake of convenience.
You can read more lawn mower safety tips on the website of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute.