Top 10 Lawn Mower Safety Tips
Before you start cutting the grass, be sure you brush up on these lawn mower safety tips.
Wear the Proper Footwear
Sandals and summer go together like peanut butter and chocolate, but not when you’re running a push mower.
It’s true that a spinning blade can slash through a leather shoe or boot too, but the main reason sandals are a poor choice is that they’re less stable and don’t offer much traction. A trip, slip or stumble could cause you to come in contact with moving or hot parts on the mower. Sandals are a hazard with riding mowers too; they increase the odds of pinching or stubbing a toe when mounting lawn tractors or zero-turn mowers.
Be Mindful of Children
Driving or pushing a mower around the yard is not the place for young children to show their parents how well they can “help.” Keep toddlers inside when mowing, and don’t let kids under 12 operate a push mower or kids under 16 run a rider. And avoid the temptation of giving your grandson a spin around the yard—lawn tractors and zero-turn mowers are designed for one person.
Pick Up Rocks, Sticks and Other Debris
If you prefer non-shattered windows on your home or the neighbor’s car, then pick up stones, branches, toys, sprinklers and other items before you start mowing. It’s one of the most basic safety tips for yard equipment. If you do miss something and notice it while you’re mowing, don’t wait until you mow over to the spot. Stop the mower and pick it up right away so you don’t forget about it.
Don’t mow gravel
Never cross over a gravel path or driveway with the blades engaged. And if you live on a gravel road, mow grass near gravel only when there are no cars or pedestrians passing by. Launching rocks at your neighbors is not a good way to build relationships.
Don’t Leave the Keys in Your Mower
It seems obvious, but leaving the keys in your lawn mower, if it has a key start, is asking for trouble. For one, what kid doesn’t love to sit on a mower and pretend they’re driving it, but if you leave the key in there, they might actually do just that.
A lawn mower sitting in the driveway with the key in the ignition is also an attractive target for thieves.
Remove the Spark Plug Before Working on the Blade
It sounds goofy, but always remove the lawn mower spark plug when working on the blade. If the piston happens to be at the top of the compression stroke, a little bump to the blade might force the piston over the “hump” and into the power stroke. This could cause the blade to lurch forward, possibly whacking your hand in the process!
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Mind the Hills
Most riding lawn mowers are more likely to tip over sideways than forward or back, so mow up and down the hill. Mow hills side to side with push mowers. That way, if you do slip, you won’t fall toward the mower or have the mower roll back at you. Also, mowing wet grass on hills increases your chance of having an accident no matter which type of machine you’re using.
Wear Eye and Hearing Protection
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, listening to sounds over 85 decibels for extended time periods can cause hearing damage. Lawn mowers can produce more than 100 decibels—wear hearing protection.
Eye protection is important too. It can help prevent dust and debris from flying into your eyes.
Keep clear of moving blades
If the lawn mower blades are spinning, don’t unclog the chute, adjust the wheel height, inspect the blades or do anything that would bring your appendages in harm’s way. The reasons are pretty obvious. And never disable the kill switch or tie down the safety lever.