It’s finally time to drag out the mowers and to find the time to stay one cutting ahead of the neighbors. A good start towards mower safety is to follow a simple safety rule called “MOW before you mow!”
Maintain the equipment before and during the cutting season to prevent breakdowns that can cause safety issues.
Observe and scan the yard and pick up items that can become projectiles, be on the lookout for kids, pets, and objects that can become targets.
Wear the right personal protective equipment (PPE) for the job. This could include safety glasses, hearing protection, sturdy shoes, gloves, and even sunscreen.
Each year, 800 children in the U.S. alone, are run over by riding mowers or small tractors, and more than 600 of those incidents result in amputation; additionally 75 people are killed and 20,000 injured; one in five deaths involves a child. For children under age 10, major limb loss is most commonly caused by lawnmowers.
Eye injuries are the most common injuries while mowing. The mower blades can throw objects up to 200 miles per hour and as far as the length of a football field in the matter of one second. It is important to wear eye protection.
Other injuries associated with both riding and walk-behind mowers are hand and foot injuries resulting from contact with the rotating blades. These can be serious injuries that often require emergency surgery and amputation. Other common injuries are burns from hot engine exhausts.
General Safety Notes:
- Never carry passengers.
- Read, understand, and follow the equipment operator’s manual.
- Keep mowers in good repair and provide proper maintenance.
- Pick up any twigs, rocks, and other objects so they don’t become projectiles thrown by the mower.
- Keep pets and humans away from the area.
- Keep hands and feet clear of rotating blades, pulleys, and belts.
- Mow up and down slopes with riding mowers.
- Mow across slopes with walk-behind mowers.
- Don’t forget your PPE.