Published on March 24th, 2015 | by Jacks0
Lawn Mower and Tractor Safety
Did you know a blade tip on a lawn or riding mower can move at approximately 200 mph?
That’s some serious speed and could cause some major injuries if any of your body parts would come in contact with it.
Now you may be thinking that you are smart enough not to put your hand in front of a moving blade, and hopefully that is true. However, over 70,000 accidents occur while mowing the lawn in just one year.
Proper lawn mower safety procedures can help keep you from serious injury and from becoming another statistic.
Don’t Mow When Wet
First, take a look outside. Is it raining or is the grass wet? Is it going to be dark soon?
You never want to mow the grass when it is wet or raining outside. This could cause premature rust to the deck on your lawn mower and can cause injury to you. Wet grass is slippery, allowing the perfect situation for you to slip, slide and fall into your lawn mower, under your lawn mower, or onto your face.
Darkness causes obstructions to your vision, and it’s hard to see who is around or who might be wandering into your mowing area. It is always better to be safe by waiting until it is completely daylight to mow your lawn.
If the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and it’s a beautiful day, prepare yourself to pull that lawn or riding mower out.
Properly Prepare Your Lawn and Your Equipment
A lawn or riding mower can send a piece of wood or metal flying several feet at high speeds. That doesn’t sound like something you’d want flying in your direction, does it? Be sure to clear your yard of objects such as large sticks, toys, bikes, stones or other obstructions. Move pets and children to a safe location, inside or another part of the yard where they will not come in contact with any flying debris.
Give your equipment a "check-up" before getting started. Old, worn or damaged equipment is a dangerous hazards while mowing.
Be sure to inspect the following:
- Belts: Check for damaged or loose belts. Loose belts can slip causing friction and possible fire. Belts can also break and be flung from the mower, injuring you or someone else.
- Blades: Make sure blades are secure, balanced and covered to prevent injury. Always wear gloves to protect hands when checking blades.
- Check for fluid leaks.
- Inspect for accumulated grass or grease in the mower deck and chute. Clean out with a broom handle or stick if clog is found.
- Missing or damaged guards and safety shields. Use your operator’s manual for a guide to the location of guards and safety shields.
- Make sure tire pressure is sufficient and inspect tires for damage.
Mower Operating Safety Tips
After you’ve checked the weather, prepared your equipment, and cleared your lawn, you are ready to get started. The most important time to think about safety is while you are operating your lawn or riding mower. Here are some tips to keep in mind during the mowing process.
- Wear loose fitting clothing, sturdy non-slip shoes, safety glasses, and ear protection. If you have long hair, tie it back.
- Keep an eye out for anything you may have missed while clearing your yard. Also, watch for ditches, sharp turns and slopes which can also be hazardous to your safety.
- Take extra caution when making sharp turns on hills.
- If you have a slope in your yard, mow across a slope in a push mower and mow up and down the slope on a riding mower to avoid overturning.
- Never leave the mower unattended while it is running. If you need to get off the mower at any time, park it securely and turn off the engine.
- Never aim discharge at walls or obstructions. The discharged material could ricochet off the obstruction at you or someone else.
- If you are falling do not reach for the handle on a push mower, release immediately.
- Be careful when using a riding mower in reverse. Watch for objects, children or pets.
Maintenance and Repair Safety
Maintenance is something you will have to do from time to time to your riding or lawn mower. It is important to follow safety procedures while doing any work to your equipment. Here are some guidelines to follow:
- Never run an engine indoors. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, clear gas produced by engines that can be fatal within minutes.
- Always be sure the motor is off and the spark plug is disconnected before inspecting or repairing the lawn mower or tractor.
- Do not remove safety devices, shields or guards on switches.
- Never use your hands or feet to remove debris, use some sort of clean out tool or stick.
- Wear protective gloves when changing, sharpening, or servicing the blades.
- Hands and feet should never touch the lawn mower blade, even if engine is off.
- Turn off engine before refueling or changing oil.
Children and Lawn mowers
Mowing the lawn is a great way to teach a child responsibility while helping you get the chores done around the house. However, each year there are many accidents involving children and lawn mowers. There are a few things you want to keep in mind before you let your child near a lawn mower.
- Wait until your child shows maturity, good judgment, strength, coordination and respect for the equipment.
- It is recommended that children under the age of 12 should not operate a lawn mower and children under the age of 16 should not operate a riding mower.
- Spend some time teaching the child important information and safety tips on how to use a riding or lawn mower correctly.
- Always supervise before allowing them to mow the grass alone.
Never allow small children to ride on a riding mower with you. Children can be thrown from the tractor and can also distract the driver causing careless mistakes.
Remember Safety First:
Whether your enjoy mowing your lawn or think it’s a snooze-worthy chore, safety is always the most important thing. Spending your summer in a doctor’s office or hospital while everyone else is having fun doesn’t sound enjoyable. All it takes is some extra precautions and preparation to keep you safe this mowing season.
Jack’s Safety Tips: Before servicing or repairing any power equipment, disconnect the spark plug and battery cables. Remember to wear appropriate safety glasses and gloves to protect against harmful chemicals and debris. View our Disclaimer.