Canadian Flag Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Centre canadien d'hygiène et de sécurité au travail Government of Canada Wordmark
CCOHS: Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
Français Contact Us Help
Canada Site
Web Info Service Products & Services OSH Answers Education & Training
Canada's national Occupational Health & Safety Resource
Home About Us E-News Bringing Health to Work Events Resources
 Features Archive

     Safe Use of Power Lawn Mowers

Many of us do not think about lawn mowers as occupational hazards. We start using them at a very young age and certainly do not need a license to mow the lawn. But if more people stopped to think about what lawn mowers really are-- machinery with sharp, fast-moving blades and scalding sources of heat--more might read the manufacturer's operating manual and use mowers more carefully. For safety's sake, it is worthwhile to add to our lifelong mowing experience with some common-sense precautions.

Inspect the lawn mower

Inspect the mower prior to starting to make certain that the blade is sharp and secure. Thin or worn blades should be replaced. Ensure that shields and other guards, such as rear drag shield and discharge deflector, are in place and working properly. Ensure blade stopping controls are effective, and adjust as necessary.

Use personal protective equipment

Wear non-slip safety toe footwear and hearing protection.

Be prepared for obstacles

  • Keep people away from the work area. Mowers can hurl objects in any direction.
  • Clear the work area of rocks, bottles and debris that might be thrown by the blades.
  • Watch for hidden hazards such as holes, roots, drain pipes and insect nests.
  • Proceed slowly into tall, heavy grass to avoid choking the mower or stalling the motor.
  • Use caution around low hanging branches and shrubs.
  • Set mower at the highest cutting level when operating on rough ground.
  • Do not leave blades rotating when crossing gravelled area.

Don't touch!

  • Keep hands away from the blades.
  • Expose the underside of a mower for maintenance, after shutting off (and disconnecting the wire from the spark plug), by tipping it by the handle.
  • Do not reach under the machine. Disconnect the spark plug wire before sharpening, replacing and cleaning.
  • Do not touch hot motor parts.
  • Do not spray cold water on a hot engine.
  • Do not make wheel height adjustments while the motor is running.
  • Operate mower standing up, not bent over.
  • Do not remove grass catcher or unclog chute with motor running.
  • Do not refuel the mower while the engine is running.
  • Mow across slopes so that your feet are less likely to slide under the mower and the mower cannot roll back.
  • Do not mow when surfaces are slippery.

Finally, know the controls and how to stop the mower quickly. And do not leave a running mower unattended.

Important Notices and Disclaimers
©CCOHS, 2008
Technical Support
Client Services
Products & services info
Inquiries Service
Answers to workplace questions
Website feedback