Every year, lawn mowers cause serious injuries. Electrically powered ones are even more dangerous simply because there is electricity involved but people suffer injuries from even using just a basic manual push model and by following some simple safety procedures, the chances of you or anyone else suffering an injury or accident as the result of mowing your garden can be dramatically reduced.
General Safety Guidelines When Using any Type of Lawn Mower
Firstly, whether you’re using a powerful electric lawn mower or a simple manual push model, there are sharp blades involved so you should make sure you’re wearing sturdy boots and not flimsy footwear or trainers as your feet are most at risk of injury when mowing your garden. Steel toe cap boots are preferable.
Before starting to mow, have a good look around your garden and search it for sticks, rocks, toys or, if you have a dog, look out for bones as these can all damage the mower. Not only that, if you hit any of these objects suddenly, it can cause the mower to veer out of control which could result in serious injury.
Bad weather and mowing are not compatible. You should refrain from cutting your grass if it’s wet or if the lighting conditions are bad. Make sure that the mower is in good condition and that any attachments, such as a grass box, are fully secured.
Goggles or some other kind of eye protection should be worn. Whilst you may not see many people wearing any kind of eye protection when cutting the grass, many injuries are caused by the blades coming into contact with a foreign object such as a large stone and it being thrown up and striking the person in the eyes.
You should always mow by pushing the mower away from you, not pulling it towards you and slopes can be especially treacherous and it’s better to mow across a slope to avoid falling and injuring yourself under the blades which is more common if you mow up a slope and you should never mow over gravel.
There are far more accidents and injuries caused each year by using an electric mower than with any other gardening instrument. Most of these are caused through carelessness – by not checking the condition of the cable prior to use and by cutting through it which can cause an electric shock and can be fatal.
When buying an electric lawn mower, choose a reputable retailer and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to the letter. Make sure that you keep the connections, plug, cable and the mower itself well maintained before each use. You should always buy a mower that has an RCD (residual current device) fitted as this will protect you should you inadvertently cut through a cable and will cut off the electricity supply immediately.
Keep your hands and feet well away from the blades and ensure that the blades have completely stopped rotating and you have disconnected the power supply before you go anywhere near the blades. For example, if you want to clean the blades of clogged grass after you’ve finished mowing.
Follow the general safety guidelines as indicated above and wear appropriate footwear, goggles and it may also be a good idea to wear a pair of ear defenders as some of the more powerful electric or petrol driven mowers can be very noisy and can damage your hearing over time if you’re ears are not protected.
If the mower strikes a foreign object, turn the mower off immediately, disconnect the power supply and make sure the blades have stopped rotating before checking for any damage.
Children and Other Safety Issues
Young children, especially below their teenage years, should be made very aware of the dangers of lawn mowers and should not be allowed anywhere near them. If you use a sit-on lawn mower, do not allow your children to ride as passengers and if leaving one of these kinds of mowers unattended for any length of time, do not leave the engine running and remember to take the key away with you.
If you use a petrol-driven mower, make sure you keep the petrol in an appropriate container and stored correctly and securely, well away from children. Fill the mower outside and use an appropriate filling tool such as a funnel to prevent accidental spillages. Don’t smoke when using a petrol mower and keep all kinds of ignition sources well away from the mower and the fuel supply.
Finally, whatever type of mower you use, always clean it after use, store it in a safe place and keep it well maintained.