Lawn Mower Safety
Lawn mower safety should be on the top of everyones agenda when
they are cutting the lawn. In 1990 in America there were over 87,000
people treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries that were
sustained from using a lawn mower. Accidents occur when using both
hand held and ride on mowers. Lawn mowers can cause terrible injuries
such as loss of fingers, toes, broken bones, blindness, mutilated
limbs and even death.
Types of lawn mower accidents
These are the most common types of lawn mower accident:
- Injury caused by someone coming into contact with the rotating
lawn mower blade.
- Electrocution when using electric powered lawn mowers caused
by cutting through the lawn mower cable.
- Injury by being run over by a lawn mower, this often happens
when the driver of a ride on mower is reversing. Small children
may below the drivers line of vision and so are at greatest risk.
Having a hand manoevered mower pulled over an operators foot is
also a known cause of injury.
- Burns by having bare skin come into contact with the engine
- Injury from a flying object that was ejected by the lawn mower,
some lawn mowers can cause small stones and debris to be 'fired'
out from under the lawn mower at a speed of over 100 mph. These
flying objects can cause bruising, broken bones and even blindness.
- Upending a mower and having it fall on the operator. This normally
occurs when the mower is attempting to mow a steep bank or turn
a tight corner. The harmful effects can include coming into contact
with the rotating blades and also having the weight of the mower
land on a limb or the body.
Guidelines for implementing lawn mower safety
Many children and young teenagers mow the lawn to earn themselves
extra pocket money. If a young person is mowing your lawn then make
sure that they are following the guidelines below and know all the
safety risks that are encountered when using the lawn mower.
Before you buy
When buying a mower look for a model that has an auto cut off feature
that stops the blades rotating when a contol on the mower is let
go. This ensures that the blades are only rotating when the operator
has their hand on the 'GO' control.
Before the first cut
Firstly be sure to read the manufacturers operation instruction
that come with your lawn mower and follow them properly.
Before powering up the mower
Before you even start the mower try and examine the lawn surface
for objects that might be thrown up by the mower such as small stones.
Remove any that you find and place them in a pile away from the
lawn. When mowing the lawn wear protective goggles to protect the
eyes from any such objects that you missed that are 'spat' out by
Wear stout shoes, not flip flops, sandals, trainers or other such
footwear. Stout, sensible shoes are beneficial for keeping a firm
footing as well as preventing direct exposure of the feet to the
mower blades. Steel toe-capped shoes are recommended as they will
offer some protection against the mower blades.
Make sure that the safety guards and shields on your mower are
properly in place and fixed securely. This should prevent any contact
with the blades in optimum mowing conditions.
For ride on mowers ensure that any young person using the mower
is of a suitable age and height and that they can reach the pedals
and all controls with ease and they are concisous of being aware
of other people and pets that may be around. Also ensure that they
have the hang of actually driving the ride on mower - including
steering, gears and braking in a controlled manner. Do not leave
them unobserved until you are confident that they have sufficient
driving and awareness skills.
Place any pets inside the house so they are not running around
and coming into contact with the mower or making the mower operator
change their course.
For walk behind mowers ensure any person using the mower has the
strength to manouver the mower properly, especially if they are
using the mower on any slopes where there is increased chance of
the mower overturning or rolling backwards.
Refuel petrol mowers BEFORE mowing whilst the mower is still switched
off and the engine is cool. Refuel the mower outside to allow dispersal
of petrol fumes. If removing grass clippings and any other debris
from under the mower and around its blades or if making adjustments
to the cutting height of the mower blades then ensure that the mower
is switched off and disconnected from any power supply.
Make sure that children are aware that you will be cutting the
lawn and are either indoors or away from the area that is to be
Ensure your mower is in good condition by having an annual lawn
mower service. If in doubt about the condition of your lawn mower
at any time then take it to a lawn mower repair and service centre.
Switch the mower off before manouvering it across paths, roads and
gravel drives. This will help prevent flying objects.
Never allow children to sit on the operators lap or on any part
of the ride on mower as a passenger. They may impair the view of
the operator and are also not in a safe riding position. This means
they can easily be thrown off the mower and run over.
Make sure to mow across any steepish slopes when using a walk behind
mower rather than up and down the slope. This will prevent mower
overturn or rollback that will result in the mower coming into contact
with the operator.
Lawn mower accidents can have huge physocological effects on both
the lawn mower operator and the family and friends of any victim.
If you follow the above guidelines you are taking steps that will
help prevent lawn mower accidents and so you will be able to enjoy
your lawn to its greatest extent.