- Read, understand, and follow the manufacturer's operating manual.
- Make sure you have been fully trained on how to operate the mower. For example, your supervisor should demonstrate how to use the mower, and observe you working with it until satisfied that you can operate it safely.
- Know the controls and how to stop the machine quickly.
Personal Protective Equipment
- Wear long pants, close-fitting clothes and non-slip safety toe footwear (no bare feet, sandals or sneakers!)
- Wear hearing and eye protection.
- Wear protective gloves when attaching or cleaning the blade.
- Portable music players are not recommended since they can be a distraction to the operator.
Preparing the area
- Check the yard before mowing - clear the work area of rocks, bottles and debris that might be thrown by the blades.
- Keep people (especially children) and pets away from the work area. A mower can throw objects in any direction.
- Do not mow wet grass (walking on wet grass is a slipping hazard for you and more likely to cause the mower to clog).
Preparing the mower
- Inspect the mower before starting it. Make certain that the blade is sharp and secured.
- Replace thin or worn blades.
- Make sure the blade stopping controls are effective. Adjust as necessary.
- Make sure that shields and other guards, such as the rear drag shield and the discharge deflector, are in place and working properly.
- Adjust wheel height before starting mower.
- Turn off the engine before adding fuel. Fill the engine when it is cool, not while it is still hot after it has been used. Use a funnel to prevent spillage on the engine. Fuel up outdoors, then wipe up all spills.
- Do not smoke when refueling!
- Restart engine at least 8 metres (25 feet) from where you refueled to avoid igniting vapours.
- Store gasoline safely - outside and away from any heat source.
- If using an electric lawn mower, use the recommended grounded extension cord, and follow the applicable electrical safety procedures described in Powered Hand Tools - Basic Safety for Electric Tools.
- If using a cordless electric (battery-powered) lawn mower, use the recommended battery and follow safety procedures in the manufacturer's operating manual.
There are many tips in other Landscaping OSH Answers documents.