Lawn mowers are an essential tool for anyone who maintains a home or property. Most mowers are very easy to set up and use, however users need to be careful when using these power tools as they also can be very dangerous, not only to the users but also to anyone nearby. Whether you use a ride on mower, a battery powered lawn mower or a gas mower; they can all be deadly when used incorrectly.
Did you know that over 80,0000 people attend emergency rooms each year in the USA due to lawnmower related injuries? Of these 80,000 injuries, over 4,500 are children; this is mainly due to poor lawn mower safety procedures being followed when adults are using lawn mowers around kids.
To avoid you or your family becoming injured due by a lawn mower, we recommend you follow these basic safety tips at all times.
General Lawn Mower Safety
This part of the article is designed to cover general lawn mower safety. These are tips to help you stay safe when using a mower of any type.
Read the Manual
This is the one tip that is mostly ignored. Do not simply throw that user manual for your shiny new mower straight in the bin, it holds important information; not only on how to get the most out of your purchase, but also how to stay safe while using it.
Different manufacturers incorporate different safety features and mechanisms, and it is vital that you understand how these work and why they are there.
So please do not ignore that user manual, read it and file it away so you can easily refer it to in the future.
Ensure the Mower is Maintained Correctly
A poorly maintained mower is an unsafe mower, so the importance of regular maintenance and inspections of your lawn mower cannot be overstated.
Before each use you should follow this checklist along with any other pre-start procedures listed in your user manual as a bare minimum:
- Check the mower is relatively clean: if the mower is overly dirty then the dirt or muck on it may be hiding damage to the mower. Make sure the mower is clean enough to be able to inspect it properly for any damage. This includes under the cutting deck.
- Ensure the cutting blades are sharp and not damaged: blunt blades means the mower has to work harder to do its job. This can result in additional wear and tear to your mower.
- Ensure the cutting deck is clear from debris/old grass or blockages underneath the mower: This is an extension of making sure your mower is clean.
- Make sure that the exit path for the cut grass (whether to a bag, out a side chute, or through a mulching attachment) is clear and not blocked: In order for your mower to function correctly, the grass must be able to exit the cutting deck.
- Ensure that all guards, shields or other protective devices are in place and not damaged: These devices are there to keep you and the people around you safe.
Check the Area to be Mowed
Ensure that the area to be mowed is clear of any debris, toys or other items that may be run over by the mower. Items that are left on the lawn and are mowed over have the potential to become missiles and are not only a danger to yourself and your family, but also to your property.
You want to remove anything that is in your mowing path, but in particular look for:
- Rocks or stones that may be hit by the blades
- Kids or pets toys
- Large sticks that may be ejected whole (or in large parts) after hitting the blades
Wear the Correct Safety Equipment
Don’t forget to put on the correct PPE (personal protective equipment).
PPE that everyone should wear when using a lawnmower:
- Eye protection: goggles
- Ear protection: ear muffs
- Foot protection: Sturdy shoes or boots
- Leg protection: Long pants – ensure they are not too loose.
- Protection from the sun: sunscreen, hat etc.
Consider the Safety of Others – Especially Children
Protecting yourself from injury is only one part of lawn mower safety, the other part is looking out for and protecting other people around you when you mow. You should be especially careful with children.
Follow these tips to make mowing the lawns safer when others are around:
- If possible, keep children indoors and away from the mower. This makes it almost impossible for them to be injured.
- Do not allow children to play with, or ride on the mower, even when it is off. Mowers can take a long time to cool down to a safe temperature, they also can contain flammable liquids and some may even be able to be started by children. It is best to teach them to stay away from the lawn mower at all times.
- Ensure that all other people nearby when mowing are not in the path of any objects that might be struck by the blades and become missiles. If possible, keep everyone else out of the area being mowed all together.