Because no backyard is complete without a lawn, lawnmower safety is an important component of backyard safety. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 60,000 injuries are treated by hospital emergency rooms each year because of unsafe operation of power lawn mowers. Keeping in mind some basic lawnmower safety tips before, during, and after you mow will help keep your family and your home safe and let you enjoy your backyard weekend after weekend.
1. Stay Away From the Blade
It seems like common sense, and it should be, but injuries resulting from contct with a moving mower blade are quite common. These injuries typically occur when a person tries to clean the discharge chute while mowing or tries to clear debris like a stick or branch away from the mower deck with his foot. Always turn the mower off when cleaning or clearing debris and wait until it comes to a complete stop before engaging.
2. Keep the Area Clear
Lawnmower blades easily pick up small objects like rocks, glass, or wire and can hurl them 50 feet or more at a speed of over 100 mph. Hidden objects are the most dangerous and impossible to avoid. Whenever possible, mow your backyard only when others are a safe distance away or inside.
3. Use Caution on Steep, Uneven, or Slippery Terrain
When using a riding mower on a steep grade or next to a significant drop off, extra care is needed. Turnover can trap an operator causing injury or even death. Extra care is also necessary when using a push mower in these situations, especially on wet grass. A foot can easiy slip under the mower deck and contact the blade. If the grass is wet, the best practice is to wait.
4. Keep an Eye on The Kids
Sadly, each year children are injured in lawnmower accidents. Never allow a child to ride on a lawnmower while it is running. They can easily be thrown from the mower and run over or can distract the operator who might then make another mistake. Similarly, talk to kids about the dangers of playing in the backyard while it is being mowed and ensure they stay away during the entire process.
5. Fuel Safely
Never refuel a lawnmower while it is running as a spark or excess heat from the engine could cause combustion. If gasoline spills occur, thoroughly wipe excess fuel away from the mower and the ground and wait for the mower to completely dry before starting. Also remember to replace gas can in a shady, cool area rather than in direct sunlight. An improperly vented gas can, if left in the sun, will expand and can explode.
For More Backyard Safety Tips, read How to Avoid Grill Accidents and subscribe to the Southern Oak Blog