Lawn & Garden Tool Safety
According to The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) each year about 400,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries from lawn and garden tools!
Most injuries are avoidable and unnecessary if proper caution and common sense are used when tending to our lawns and gardens. Here are a few tips and best practices:
- No one under 14 should operate a power mower, even if they are supervised. Teenagers should only be allowed to operate outdoor power equipment if they possess adequate strength and maturity to do so safely. They also should be supervised by a responsible adult.
- Don’t give children rides on a mower. In fact, it’s best to keep kids entirely out of the area while the lawn is being mowed.
- Keep children indoors and supervised at all times when any outdoor power equipment is being used. Young children move quickly and are attracted to mowers and mowing activity, especially if they have been given rides on mowers before.
- Never assume children will remain where you last saw them. Be alert and turn off the mower if children enter the mowing area. Use extra care when backing up or when approaching corners, shrubs, and trees.
- Wear sturdy shoes.
- Dress appropriately for the task. Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts (to avoid injuries from thrown objects like rocks or sticks), close-fitting clothes and no jewelry (to avoid getting anything caught in moving parts), sturdy shoes with slip-resistant rubber soles, eye protection, heavy gloves (protects hands when changing, sharpening, or cleaning blades), and hearing protection such as ear plugs when using motor-driven equipment.– Before starting up machinery, remove objects from the area in which you are working that can cause injury or damage equipment, such as sticks, glass, metal, wire, and stones.
- Wear eye and ear protection. Add a dust mask if you have allergies.
- Keep an eagle eye out for any debris that could be picked up and thrown by a lawn mower blade.
- Never use your hand to dislodge an object caught in the mower blade, even if the engine is off and the sparkplug is pulled. That’s because the blade may be under tension and will spring forward when the blockage is removed.
- Always refuel outdoors, not in a garage or shed. Allow the engine to cool before refueling.
- When mowing slopes, mow side to side with walk-behind mowers, go up and down the slope with a riding mower.
- Avoid mowing steep slopes—plant groundcovers instead!
- Make sure that safety devices on all equipment are in place and functioning properly before starting work.
- Unplug electric tools and disconnect spark plug wires on gasoline-powered tools before making adjustments or clearing jams near moving parts.
- Be sure power tools are turned off and made inoperable if they must be left unattended to prevent use by children.
- Handle gas carefully. Never fill gasoline tanks while machinery is on or when equipment is still hot. Wipe up spills. Store gas in an approved container away from the house. Finally, never smoke or use any type of flame around gasoline or any gasoline-powered equipment.
- Never work with electric power tools in wet or damp conditions. For protection against electrocution, use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). GFCIs come in several models, including a portable plug-in type.
- Be sure that extension cords are in good condition, are rated for outdoor use, and are the proper guage for the electrical current capacity of the tool.
These simple practices will help us all to steer clear of the emergency room and first aid kit!