Submitted by Brennan Purdy State Farm Agent
Few things say "summer" like the look and smell of a freshly cut lawn. But while the end result is appealing, mowing can actually be a dangerous weekend task. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 253,000 people, including children, were treated for lawn mower-related injuries in 2010.
Review these safety tips before taking your lawn mower out of the shed.
- Have your mower serviced at the beginning of the season, and read through the owner's manual before operating.
- Dress with safety in mind. Wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes; safety goggles, gloves and long pants.
- Before mowing, scour your yard for sticks, stones and other objects that could become dangerous projectiles. Mower blades can eject objects as fast as 100 miles per hour.
- Make sure children and pets are inside before mowing.
- Do not let children under the age of 12 operate walk-behind mowers; children under 16 should not drive riding mowers. Children should never ride along on riding mowers.
- Fuel your mower outdoors before you've started the engine. If the mower runs out of fuel before you've finished mowing, take a break. Turn off the engine and add fuel once the mower has cooled.
- Start your mower outside of the garage or other storage area to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Avoid mowing when the grass is damp. Wet grass can make the ground slippery to walk on, and it can clog the discharge chute.
- Drive riding mowers straight up and down slopes to help prevent rollovers. Walk push mowers diagonally across hills to reduce the risk of pulling the mower on top of you if you fall.
- Never pull mowers backward or mow in reverse.
- Turn off the mower before walking away from it.
- Shut off the engine when pushing a mower over gravel, mulch or pavement.
- Turn the mower off and wait for the blades to stop spinning before adjusting the blade height, removing built-up debris or making repairs.
- Disconnect the spark plug before reaching under the mower (or unplug it if you have an electric mower.)
- Use a stick or broom handle, not your hands, to remove debris that's clogging the chute.
- Store your fuel only in canisters approved by state and local government regulations. If you keep more than one type of fuel in your shed or garage, make sure each container is clearly labeled and stored at least 50 feet away from a flame source. Some mower manufacturers recommend using a blend of gasoline and oil, but an incorrect ration can damage your engine. Check your owner's manual for instructions specific to your make and model.
Learn more tips for staying safe while working in your yard this summer from State Farm and the National Safety Council.