Lawn Mower Safety
Mowing the lawn is as common hallmark of summer as a sunny day, yet just like any other task, should be approached with safety in mind. The following tips are provided to you courtesy of the North Central Educational Service District’s newsletter, “Safety Matters.”
Dressing correctly protects staff from both the machine, as well as the elements. Staff should wear:
- Long pants & close-fitting clothing.
- Sturdy footwear with good traction.
- Impact resistant safety glasses or goggles.
- Ear plugs or ear muffs.
- Sun protection – hat, long sleeves, sunscreen, etc.
Prepare the Area
While potentially time-consuming, a pre-mowing inspection can go a long way towards preventing and reducing injuries.
- Injuries and damages, due to projectiles thrown by mower blades, occur more frequently than you may think. Scan for any loose items such as sticks, rocks, toys, sporting equipment, etc., and mow with the chute away from windows when possible.
- Inspect for and mark any immovable objects, e.g., pipes, partially buried rocks, tree roots, etc.
- Check for bystanders, children, pets, and other vehicles. If others are using the area, consider returning to mow when it’s unoccupied.
- Check for any wet or soggy areas – flag and avoid when mowing.
- Inspect all protective guards and deflectors to ensure they are in place and working properly.
- Check fuel gauge.Neverfuel a hot mower, as the hot muffler may ignite vapors.
- Before starting the engine, confirm that the transmission is out of gear and the blade clutch is disengaged.
- When using a new or unfamiliar machine, take a test drive to familiarize yourself before engaging the mower blade.
- Document all mower training.
- Require all employees using mowers to read manual and be familiar with all safety instructions.
- Remind employees to stay hydrated; encourage them to carry water bottles while mowing.
- While mowing, take corners slowly.
- Soft soil and/or wet grass can cause the engine to falter, the mower or operator to slip, or clog the discharge chute. Do not mow these areas until conditions have improved.
- Use extreme caution on inclines/declines.
- Wear any seatbelts or restraints the mower is equipped with.
- Disengage the mower blade when on pavement, sidewalks, or gravel lanes.
- Be aware of your surroundings: ALWAYS look down and behind before going in reverse.
- Never leave a running mower unattended.
- Always allow the mower and all moving parts to come to a complete stop before stepping off.
- Keep all appendages well clear of all moving parts.
- Never allow passengers on riding mowers or tractors.