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Lawn Care Safety

Summer arrives and out come the lawn power tools. Before you start your yard chores, learn how to play it safe. Mowers and power landscaping tools can cause injuries ranging from cuts to loss of eyesight and amputations. Simple things like wet grass, debris in the yard, or shoes with slippery soles become potential hazards when mowing the lawn. Put safety first by following these precautions from the Consumer Product Safety Commission to help prevent injuries in your yard.


Lawn Mowers

  • Don’t allow a child to accompany you on a riding mower or play in the mowing area!

  • Wear long pants and a long-sleeve shirt, and sturdy shoes with slip-resistant rubber soles. Wear eye protection; even grass can cause an eye injury. Protect your ears from motor noise. Use heavy gloves when changing, sharpening, or cleaning blades.

  • Walk around your yard and remove any sticks, stones, metal, glass, or wire that could cause injury if thrown from power equipment.

  • Be sure equipment safety devices are in place and working properly.

  • Never attempt to change the wheel height adjustment on your lawn mower while the engine is running.

  • When using a walk-behind mower, mow across the faces of slopes instead of up and down. When using a ride-on mower, mow up and down on gentle slopes. Avoid mowing on any excessively steep slopes.

  • To lessen chances of injury to your feet, avoid situations that require you to pull the lawn mower backwards.

  • Unplug electric tools and disconnect spark plug wires on gasoline- powered tools before making adjustments or clearing jams.

  • Never fill gas tanks while operating equipment or if the engine is still hot. Wipe up any spills. Store gasoline in an approved container.

  • Never work with electric power tools in wet or damp conditions.


Hedge Trimmers

  • When operating your hedge trimmer, keep both feet on the ground: firm footing is very important to the safe operation of a hedge trimmer. Standing on stools or ladders increases your chance for accidents and should be avoided.

  • Do not overreach while operating your hedge trimmers; you may lose your balance.

  • Do not trim hedges higher than your shoulders.

  • Keep your fingers away from the trimmer blades. Resist the impulse to clear trimmings from the blade while the trimmer is running.

  • Before removing an obstruction in the trimmer blades, be sure to switch it to the "off" position and remove the spark plug wire.

  • Always hold the hedge trimmer with both hands while operating.

  • Look for hedge trimmers with cutting teeth on both sides of the blade for added versatility. When trimming your hedges, trim the top of the hedge so it is narrower than the bottom to allow sunlight to reach the lower branches.


String Trimmers

  • Use your string trimmer only for weeds and grass; it’s not designed to trim shrubbery, climbing ivy or other greenery.

  • Keep firm footing and balance; don’t overreach; be sure lighting conditions are adequate; keep your body away from the rotating string head and hot surfaces. Be sure to keep the string head below waist level.

  • Before each use, inspect your string trimmer for loose fasteners, fuel leaks, or other problems. Replace damaged parts.

  • When using a string trimmer, position the cutting head at a 30- degree angle to the cutting area. Be sure to let the tip of the cutting line do the work. Never force the line into the turf; this can scalp your lawn.


Pressure Washers

  • Be careful with the high-pressure water stream (it can be up to 2,220 pounds per square inch); keep your hands, feet and body away from the stream to avoid injuries. Do not point the sprayer at anyone, whether or not the pressure washer is on.

  • Always hold a pressure washer spray wand with both hands. Do not overreach while spray cleaning.

  • Do not spray a pressure washer toward electrical areas.


Lawn Edgers

  • Before using your edger, first carefully examine the area and remove any objects such as rocks, branches and debris.

  • Check to be sure your edger blade is firmly attached and not contacting anything before operating.

  • Do not use a lawn edger on graveled surfaces.

  • If your lawn edger strikes a foreign object, stop operation and disconnect the spark plug wire to inspect the unit for damage.

  • When using your edger, rest the edger guide against the edge of the paved surface before starting. To prevent clogging, edge only when the grass and soil are dry. If clogging does occur, be sure to turn the unit off and use a stick or tool to clear the clogged area.


Lawn Mowers and Mulchers

  • When necessary to unclog the discharge chute, stop the engine (disconnect the spark plug wire for added safety) and use a stick to remove debris-don’t use your hands.

  • If using a grass catcher, stop the engine and wait until the cutting blade comes to a complete stop before removing the bag.

  • Keep your mower or mulcher blade sharp for good cutting performance.

  • If your mower is self-propelled, be sure the drive clutch is disengaged when starting. Never stand in front of a self-propelled mower.

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