According to lawn mower industry experts, there are an average of 100,000 reported accidents a year. This figure is based only on reports from hospital emergency rooms, which means the numbers include only those injuries serious enough to warrant hospital treatment.
The experts note that the reasons behind lawn mower accidents range from the ridiculous to the mundane, with some the result of operators disconnecting safety devices.
People have to be responsible for their own safety as lawn mower blades are dangerous. Keeping that fact in mind is the first step in learning how to mow safely.
Mower Safety Tips
• Wear long pants, such as jeans or chinos, and heavy shoes (no sandals, flip-flops or tennis shoes); protect eyes with goggles when using walkbehind equipment; wear a cap to prevent heatstroke.
• Clear a path, making a sweep of the area before mowing to remove hazards.
• Attach a grass catcher when near a children’s playground or other areas where objects thrown by the mower could pose a threat. A mower can throw a small rock at a velocity of about 300 feet per second.
• Maintain your equipment gas up and check oil before mowing, not while the mower is running and engine is hot. Gasoline fumes are flammable, “and so are you.”
• Don’t put gasoline into the tank while in a closed garage or other indoor space. Don’t smoke.
• Have your mower or tractor serviced regularly to ensure that all safety devices are working and unsafe conditions don’t develop through neglect
• Don’t stick hands or feet under a mower. Mower blades are invisible when turning and even shutting off the power is not enough. Kinetic energy (momentum) causes mower blades to continue to turn for a time even after the power is shut off.
• Don’t hesitate to turn off the engine. When life’s little crises turn up, turn off the engine before you deal with them.
• Don’t baby-sit when you mow the lawn. Young children don’t understand the danger a mower represents. They may head straight for Mommy or Daddy, who can’t hear them coming over the noise of the mower.
• Don’t let anyone ride with you on the riding mower – not even a child in your lap or riding in a cart pulled behind. People could fall off or out right into the path of the mower; don’t let older children ride around for fun.
Mowing on Hills
With walk-behind mowers, mow side to side along the hill. If you go up or down, you could slip and your feet could slide under the mower, or slip and have it roll onto you. You might wear old-fashioned leather-topped golf shoes with spikes for better fraction on steep hills.
With riding units, mow up and down the hill, not side to side. Here, the danger is rolling the machine over onto yourself. If the area you mow regularly has a lot of hills, use a machine that has a low center of gravity and an engine and transmission powerful enough to get you and the machine up those hills.