Whether you have just bought your first mower or you have been mowing the lawn for years, safety should always come first. Review these safety tips to help avoid situations that could result injuries to you or your family.
Always read your operator’s manual before using your mower for the first time and refer to the manual whenever you have a question about your mower. The manual contains important information about the safe operation, features and maintenance of your equipment.
Dress appropriately when you mow your lawn. Wear a sturdy work shoes and long pants when mowing. Never wear sandals. Work gloves and safety glasses are also recommended. Before you mow, walk through your yard and pick up any items such as sticks and stones, debris and toys. Mowing over items can damage your mower blade and results in objects being thrown from the mower’s discharge shoot which could cause injury.
Be certain that children and pets are not in the yard when you mow. Never assume that they will remain where you last saw them. Instead, keep children out of the mowing area and under the watchful care of a responsible adult other than the operator. Never allow a child to run on a riding mower or walk alongside even with the blades shut off. They may fall off and they seriously injured or interfere with the safe machine operation. Children who have been given rides in the past may suddenly appear on the mowing area for another ride. For this reason, use extreme care when approaching blind corners, shrubs, trees and other objects that may block your view of the child. Be alert and turn off the machine if a child enters the mowing area. In general, never allow a child under the age of 16 to operate any type of outdoor power equipment.
Start your lawn mower outside. Never start or operate any outdoor power equipment in the garage, shed, or other building even if the doors or windows are open. Only had a fuel when the mower is turned off and it is cooled down and only do so outdoors. Wait at least two minutes before refueling. Allow spilled gas to evaporate before starting your mower engine. Keep all safety devices such as guards, shields, switches, etc. in place and in proper working condition.
Walk-behind mowers have a safety bar on the handle that must be held when you mow. When you release the safety bar, the mower blade will automatically shut off. Riding mowers are equipped with the safety shut off, too. If you want to leave the sit, you must turn the lower blades off and set the parking break. Never try to disarm these important safety features. They are there for your protection.
Mow only when your lawn is dry and when you have enough daylight to clearly see what you are doing. Never pull a running mower backwards toward your feet as you may trip and fall. Do not low and reverse unless absolutely necessary. Always look down and behind before and while traveling in reverse even with the mower blades disengaged to avoid hitting a person or a pet.
Mowing on slopes and hill can be dangerous. If you feel unsure about operation your mower on an incline, do not do it. With the walk-behind mower, always mow across the slope. With the riding mower, always mow up and down the slope or mowers recommended by the operating manual.
As a general rule of thumb, do not operate a riding mower on slopes that rise more than 3 ½ ft over a 20-foot length. If you cannot back up a slope upon a traditional lawn mower, do not mow it because it is too steep.
Always keep your hands and your feet away from the mower deck. That is the part of the mower that covers the blade underneath. And finally, maintain your mower so that it operates properly. The owner’s manual has important maintenance information in it and you can always learn how to tune up your mower by viewing our yardsmarts tune-up tutorial.