Podcast Title: Health and Safety to Go!
Episode #: 133† - Safe Mowing Tips
Introduction Welcome to Health and Safety to Go, broadcasting from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.
Host:† Itís the time of year when power mowers are in full gear, being used to get lawns back into shape and keep them maintained. Whether as part of your job or when at home, mowers may seem simple enough to use, but there are serious hazards that come with operating any power tool.
Operating power mowers can be risky business. When you are mowing the lawn you are at risk from cuts and amputations, bruises and abrasions from plants and trees, burns from hot engines, electric shock or electrocution from contact with live electrical parts or electric power lines, and slips and falls from working in wet or cluttered areas.
Before you start the work, read and follow the instructions in the manufacturer's operating manual, and ensure your supervisor has trained you on how to operate the mower. Your supervisor should show you how to use the mower, and observe you working with it until they are satisfied that you can operate it safely. Be aware of the mower's safety features, including how to stop it quickly in case of an emergency.
Before starting the mower, conduct a quick inspection to ensure that you know where the controls are and how to stop the machine quickly. And make sure the shields and other guards are in place and working properly. The blades of a mower pose a great danger and you must take great care not to come into contact with them when the motor is running. Do not reach under the machine, adjust the wheel height, remove the grass catcher or unclog the chute while the motor is running. Be sure to disconnect the spark plug wire before sharpening, replacing and cleaning the machine.
When youíre ready to get started, keep people away from the work area. The work area should be cleared of rocks, bottles, and debris that might be thrown by the blades and watch for hidden hazards such as holes, roots, drain pipes and insect nests. Set the mower at the highest cutting level when operating on rough ground. Mowing across slopes rather than up and down them helps prevent your feet from sliding under the mower; also the mower cannot roll back onto you.
The clothing you wear when operating a mower is also important. To protect your feet and prevent slips and falls, wear high-cut, non-slip safety toe footwear with reinforced soles. Approved head protection helps when working under low branches and can deflect falling objects. A wide-brimmed hat, proper sunglasses, and comfortable clothing can provide protection from prolonged time in the sun. Wear sturdy gloves with a grip, hearing protection, and do not wear loose or torn clothing that can get caught in machinery.
There are things you need to know about refuelling the mower to make sure it is done safely. Fill the fuel tank before starting a job, while the engine is cold, and if the engine has been running, allow it to cool down. Position yourself comfortably so that you can refuel without slipping and remove the fuel cap slowly, holding it at the semi-locked position until pressure is released. Replace the fuel cap after checking to see that it is venting is not clogged. If you spill any fuel on equipment, wipe it up and allow any residue to dry before starting the engine. You do not want to start a fire!
There are many things to remember, and precautions to take to get the mowing job done safely and prevent you from becoming injured.
For more information about working safely outdoors, and how to operate mowers safely, visit www.ccohs.ca. Thanks for listening everyone.