Landscaping - Grass Trimmers and Brush Cutters

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What are some general tips when using grass trimmers and brush cutters?

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Make sure that you are trained in the proper use of grass trimming and brush cutting equipment. Rotating cutting tools can throw objects or cut the operator.

  • Read, understand, and follow instructions in the manufacturer's operating manual.
  • Hold the unit firmly with both hands.
  • Ensure that the cutting part is adjusted properly and is tight.
  • Replace bent, warped, damaged or dull cutting apparatus.
  • Check that the throttle springs back to idle position.
  • Select equipment with anti-vibration components.
Hold the unit firmly with both hands

There are many tips in other Landscaping OSH Answers documents.

What clothing and gear should I wear when using grass trimmers and brush cutters?

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  • sturdy and well-fitting overalls, jeans or long pants,
  • heavy-duty, non-slip gloves,
  • safety boots with non-slip soles,
  • safety goggles, or face screen and safety glasses, and
  • hearing protection (muffs or plugs).

How do I safely use grass trimmers and brush cutters?

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  • Make sure that shields, guards, and other safety devices are in place and working properly.
  • Replace or tighten all loose or damaged parts or guards.
  • Make sure muffler is in good condition. In dry weather, use a fire-safe muffler.
  • Keep people away from starting and operating areas.
  • Clear the work area of stones, glass, metal and debris.
  • Refuel the engine before starting work while the engine is cool. If refuelling is required before the job is completed, wait for the engine to cool.


  • If using an electric grass trimmer, follow applicable electrical safety procedures described in the OSH Answers document, Powered Hand Tools - Electric Tools- Basic Safety.
  • Start the unit on firm ground or other solid surfaces in an open area.
  • Maintain good balance and a secure footing when operating.
  • Adjust harness and hand grip to suit work positions.
  • Use unit at ground level only.
  • Shut off engine before cleaning out clogged or stuck brush cutter.
  • Stop the engine before putting the brush cutter down.
  • Disconnect the spark plug when the equipment is left unattended.
  • Secure cutter to prevent fuel spillage and damage during transport.
  • Keep the brush cutter tool covered with the carrying guard.

What should I avoid when using grass trimmers and brush cutters?

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  • Do not leave operating equipment unattended.
  • Do not wear short pants or short sleeves.
  • Do not use rigid blades in stony areas.
  • Do not overreach. Keep proper footing and balance at all times.
  • Do not repair damaged attachments - discard them.

What are some tips when using leaf blowers?

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Leaf blowers can throw objects which can be hazardous to both the operator and others.

  • Always plan your work before using a leaf blower. Clear the area of all people, pets and objects from around your work area (have a safety circle of approximately 10 metres or 30 feet around you).
  • Always wear eye protection when operating a leaf blower – even small stones can blind a person.
  • Hearing protection is recommended.
  • Always wear respiratory protection in dusty or dirty areas, or where dampness and decay may have created conditions for mould growth. Mould spores are an inhalation hazard.
  • Always start and run the unit in an upright position.
  • Never operate the leaf blower without the tubing.
  • Always direct the debris away from people, animals, glass and solid objects that could cause the debris to rebound or ricochet.
  • Never use the blower to spread or mist chemicals, fertilizers or other toxic substances.
  • Never use the blower from ladders, trees, rooftops or other unstable surfaces.

  • Fact sheet confirmed current: 2022-05-31
  • Fact sheet last revised: 2022-05-31