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Research conducted by National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine states that “There were an estimated 934,394 lawn mower injuries treated in U.S ED’s (Emergency Departments) from 2005 to 2015, with an average of 84,944 injuries annually.”
Moreover, the research reveals that the incidents of lawn mower injuries show no decline during 2005-2015, which means such cases were increasing every year. Although the manufacturers’ hard work has improved the products to a significant level, chances of accidents, though minimized, are still there.
Whether you are crossing a road, driving to your work, taking a shower, working in the kitchen or gardening outside, you have to be careful because accidents are unpredictable especially when you are mowing your lawn.
You cannot stop doing your daily chores to avoid accidents. However, you would like to be more vigilant and careful while performing your daily tasks to ensure your safety.
In this article, we are going to provide you with lawn mower safety tips so that you can mow your lawn without hurting yourself or the people around you. So, continue reading the article.
Most of the operators consider precautionary measures as common sense and believe they will come out naturally when they will decide to mow. However, there are chances that one can fail to recall all of them when starting a mowing job after a season.
So, let us provide you with a list of practices you should review every mowing season before laying hands on lawn mower.
Tip #1: Read the Manual
The first and foremost thing is to know your machine well. There are several manufacturers on the market manufacturing several types of lawn mowers. Each lawn mower has its limitations and qualities that can be different from the others on the market.
For example, a lawn mower can mow on 8 inches slop while the other can mow on a slope of up to 12 inches. Some lawn mowers can stop automatically in case of accidents and others cannot.
So, it is essential to read the operator’s manual thoroughly. Try to understand all the features and functions well. Some people don’t bother to study the manual and end up hurting themselves or destroying their lawn mower.
A soldier who knows the limit and range of his weapons can perform better in a war while keeping his safety. Similarly, you should learn about your lawn mower as much as you can before starting work.
Tip #2: Train the Operator
A few lawn mowers are easy to operate, and even a child can push them around, but such lawn mowers do not guarantee 100% safety either. It is necessary to train yourself or the family member on the lawn mower before mowing the yard.
Besides, knowing all the features and functions, the operator should be aware of signs as well, i.e. caution, warning, and danger, etc. Once you or your family member is confident about operating the lawn mower, then and only then you should start work.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children below 12 years of age should not operate any lawn mower. Although 12-year-old children can use a push lawn mower, they should not use a riding lawn mower. The minimum age for operating a riding lawn mower is 16 years.
Taking this into account, you should train only an eligible person from your family, if you are not doing it yourself.
Tip #3: Inspect the lawn mower
Before you turn your lawn mower, check for the cracked or unbalanced blade, damaged or lose belts, any gas leakage, accumulation of debris or grass clippings in the discharge chute and damaged extension cord, etc. Most of such issues are fire provoking and may cause serious injuries.
Therefore, make sure that your lawn mower is in working order, and nothing will turn out bad.
Tip #4: Clear the Lawn
After inspecting your lawn mower, remove all the debris, chips of wood, stones, toys and other objects that your lawn mower may pick up and throw them out. The debris can damage the mower’s blades. The hard stones, metal toys and small pins, etc can cause dysfunctioning of the lawn mover. So, make sure; you have removed all the debris from your lawn before going ahead. It will help you to prevent flying injuries and will keep safe to your lawn mower.
Tip #5: Lawn Mower Guards
Most of the lawn mowers come with safety guards and shields that protect the operator. You should make sure your lawn mower has all the protective devices attached before you enter the arena.
You should have a guard on the rear end of your lawn mower as well. The lawn mowers are notorious for throwing debris. The protective guards can save you or other people from injury.
You might be wondering why you need to attach guards when you already have removed debris from your lawn. According to the National Ag Safety Database, lawn mower can throw debris at the speed of around 200 mph, which can cause severe injury and you don’t want to take a risk.
Tip #6: Family & Pets
As per the American Journal of Emergency Medicine, “an estimated 212,258 children <18 years of age were treated for lawn mower-related injuries in US EDs (Emergency Departments) from 1990 through 2014. This equaled an average of 8490 injuries annually.”
Timely maintenance of your lawn is important, but do not forget to protect your family in a rush. Keep your children, pets and other family members indoors so that you can concentrate on yard work and have no obstruction in your way.
Tip #7: Protective Accessories
There is but one last thing that you need to do. Before turning the ignition switch ‘on’, put on protective accessories. According to the statistics given by National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, “the most commonly injured body parts were the hand/finger (22.3%)” in the accident cases with the lawn mowers.
You should wear sturdy shoes and skin-tight gloves. As an operator, you should avoid working barefooted and wearing open-toed shoes and flip flops. Such practices are highly inviting toward unpleasant experiences.
Moreover, you need to put on some eye protectors or glasses to make sure your eyes are safe and to protect your hearing, use earplugs or any other protective device. The noise can impair your hearing, and some lawn mowers are noisier than your tolerance capacity.
Precaution While Mowing:
The previous section provides you with crucial information on what to do before starting your lawn mower. Once you have taken all the precautionary measures and have turned the lawn mower ‘on’, you need to be careful about a few more things that we are going to share below.
Tip #8: Know your Turf
As a beginner, you should acquaint yourself with the lawn. You should be aware of the slopes, ups and downs, and objects or obstacles in your way beforehand.
The best way to make that happen is by pushing or riding your lawn mower around on your lawn without having the blades operational. The speed of your lawn mower should be set to the lowest or the most convenient level so that you can explore the challenges you may face during actual yard work.
Tip #9: Cutting Height
It is necessary to adjust the height to a higher level if you are mowing on uneven terrain. Keeping the cutting height low may cause a collision with the protruding surface of the ground ending in an accident. So, adjust the cutting height of your lawn mower while keeping the contours of terrain in mind. If you don’t know how to adjust the cutting height, you can read the manual, provided with the lawn mower. It’s important to adjust the cutting height before mowing in the lawn having thick grass blades. It’s even more important to adjust the height while mowing on uneven/slopy terrain.
Tip #9: Mow Forward
When you mow advancing, you have the area in your view which allows you to control the mower in a better way. Backwards or reverse mowing option in a lawn mower can be very beneficial, but it should be employed only when inevitably necessary.
Whenever you have to mow in reverse direction, make sure you do not have children, pets or anyone else in your way. We recommend keeping an eye backward while mowing in reverse direction.
All in all, we recommend mowing forward and suggest mowing backward only if it is necessary.
Tip #10: Mow in Daylight
It is always right to mow in the light rather than mowing in the dark. Although there are lights available on the market that can illuminate your whole yard at once and there are lawn mowers incorporated with lights to mow in the night time, we recommend mowing during day time.
It is quite clear that you need light to mow your lawn whether it is natural or artificial, so why not mow in the day when you can have abundant light and can save energy as well.
Apart from saving energy, having enough light will prevent accidents as well.
Tip #11: Wet Grass
In the best of all worlds, people would like to mow dry grass. The lawn mower provider comparatively cleaner cut when the grass is dry. Besides getting a cleaner cut, wet grass and soil are usually softer and slippery which can not only be damaged with the wheels of the lawn mower but can also cause an accident.
We recommend mowing between 9 AM to 11 AM when the grass gets dry under the sunlight.
Tip #12: Rollover Accidents
The rollover accidents of lawn mowers (especially ride-on lawn mowers) can be extremely distressful including trauma, amputation or death. Therefore, it is essential to mow the right way to avoid rollovers.
If you mow a hilly or sloppy yard with a riding lawn mower, you should go up and down to mow the slopes. On the contrary, if you have a walk behind lawn mower, we suggest you mow across the slop (from side to side). Using your mowers in this manner reduces the chances of accidents.
If the slope is too steep, then you need to find out if your lawn mower is designed to mow on such a slope or not. If the slope is within the capacity of your lawn mower, you may go ahead; otherwise, don’t take a risk.
Tip #13: Electric Lawn Mower
Those who mow with electric corded lawn mowers, they need to keep the cord out of the way. Using a lawn mower with a cord retention system can be a good idea, but still, you need to be careful with the cord. Well, you can check tips online to use an electric lawn mower. Complete research before mowing can be greatly helpful to avoid any issues later.
Tip #14: Final Measures
When you are done mowing your lawn, carefully turn off the lawn mower before you leave it in your garage. In case, you want to clean it after mowing your yard, don’t touch any of its internal parts until you have turned it off and the blades have stopped moving.
Always remember to disconnect the power cord or to remove the batteries after use. Finally, handle and store the gasoline with care.