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
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.
- Keep hands away from the
- 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
- Do not mow when surfaces
Finally, know the controls
and how to stop the mower quickly. And do not leave a running mower unattended.