Off the Job Safety - Lawnmower Safety
Summertime is finally around the corner. This means that grass will start to green
and grow, and people will be using lawnmowers to mow it. This also means that many
people will pay a visit to emergency departments of hospitals throughout the country
with lawnmower related injuries.
In many cases, people use lawnmowers as part of their job. Because of the safety
rules of the company, they wear the proper safety equipment such as steel toe boots
and goggles. It's plain to see that this is not the case in most homes. Drive down
a residential street on any summer evening and you will see people cutting lawns
in sandals while their children are playing close by. On occasion, seemingly intelligent
people will take a perfectly good hand and reach under a running lawnmower to retrieve
something as valuable as an old stick, or a wet clump of grass. The result can be
In order to prevent these things from happening, we must realize that lawnmowers
are dangerous if used carelessly.
In one lawnmower related incident, a woman was cutting her lawn with a power
mower. As she walked backwards up a hill, pulling the mower, one foot slipped and
slid underneath the lawnmower. The result was a severely lacerated foot with multiple
Several features in newer lawnmowers have improved safety. For example, the deadman
lever has to be kept depressed in order to keep the mower running. The rubber flap
at the back helps prevent objects from being thrown by the blades. However, no safety
feature is foolproof. Always treat lawnmowers with respect.
Whether you use a gas, electric, riding or a push mower, keep the following tips
- Before you use the lawnmower, read the manufacturer's directions to familiarize
yourself with all the controls.
- Clear objects such as bottle caps, rocks, roofing nails etc. from the lawn. A
lawnmower can hurl objects at a speed of 320 km/hr. Keep children a safe distance
- Don't wear sandals or go barefoot when you mow the lawn. Steel-toed shoes are
much safer. Safety goggles will protect your eyes.
- Lawn mowers are loud. Wear proper hearing protection such as ear plugs or ear
muffs. Look in your yellow pages under safety equipment to purchase hearing protection.
- Cut the grass when it's dry. Wet grass clogs the mower, you may be tempted to
remove it with your hand. Mowing the wet grass with an electric mower increases the
chance of electric shock.
- When using electric mowers, be careful not to run over the cord. Make sure you
are using a three-pronged plug and the electrical outlet has a Ground Fault Circuit
- Fill the lawnmower with gas in a ventilated area when the mower is cool. Don't
smoke while filling the mower. Store the gas in an approved container. Avoid filling
the gas tank right to the top; leave an air space to help prevent spillage. If you
spill gasoline, wait for it to evaporate before starting the lawnmower.
- If you have a riding mower, don't allow extra riders. Many children have been
injured or killed while riding as passengers on small tractors. These machines are
not designed to carry passengers.