Saturday, March 29, 2008

Lawn Mower Safety

Last weekend I got our lawn mower out. The "weeds" more than the grass had grown high enough to need mowing. I put gas in, changed the air filter, but could not get the spark plug changed. It would not budge. Being one of those independent females, having to wait for my husband (who was out of town) to get home and do the lawn mower maintenance for me is frustrating. (Of course, it would have been nice for him to do it before he went out of town.) My father-in-law suggested I "soak" it with WD-40 overnight. It worked. So Thursday I got the spark plug changed and the mower started! The yard is mowed.

So in preparation of the coming mowing season, lets try to be safe this year. The power lawn mower is considered one of the most dangerous tools around the home. Did you know that lawn mower injuries alone cost the nation approximately $475 million annually in health care costs? Did you know that nearly 10,000 children in America are injured each year as the result of a lawn mower accident? Did you know that lawnmower injuries account for a large percentage of accidental partial or complete finger/toe amputations?

Lawn mower injuries include deep cuts, loss of fingers and toes, broken and dislocated bones, burns, and eye and other injuries. Some injuries are very serious. Both users of mowers and those who are nearby can be hurt.

Safety Tips

  • Before operating equipment, familiarize yourself with it and make sure it is in good working order.
  • Heed the manufacturer precautions.
  • Be sober (i.e., don't drink).
  • Use lawn mowers with guards and a cutoff switch. Never disconnect the cutoff switch.
  • Exert extreme caution on slopes and never mow when the ground is damp.
  • Do not allow other people, and particularly children, in the area when operating a lawn mower.
  • Never allow children to ride on mowers.
  • Never go barefoot while mowing. Sandals and flip-flops are no better than being barefoot.
  • Wear protective eye gear, hand gear and footwear such as goggles, gloves and heavy rubber sole boots. (Hiking shoes with double wall leather and cleats are good. Golf shoes are even better.)
  • Pick up toys, tree limbs, rocks, etc from the yard. Any of these things can become potential projectiles.
  • Fill the gas tank while the engine is off. Never smoke when filling the gas tank.
  • When a lawn mower cuts off, be extra careful in removing any objects from the blade. Always make sure the engine is off and the mower blade has completely stopped rotating before attempting to remove debris from the mower or make adjustments. It is best to disconnect the spark plug so the mower can't start while near the blade.
  • Do not leave a lawnmower unattended when it is running. If you must walk away from the machine, shut off the engine.

REFERENCES

Preventing Lawn Mower Injuries; American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society

Lawn Mower Safety Could Save Life and Limb This Summer; University of Michigan Health System; June 2, 2003

Lawn Mower Safety; American Academy of Pediatrics

Snowblower and Lawnmower Injuries; American Society for Surgery of the Hand

Lawn Mower Safety Tips; Briggs and Stratton

Lawn mower-related injuries to children; J Trauma. 2005; 59(3):724-8; Abstract

4 comments:

Midwife with a Knife said...

Hm... someone should have shown this list to my dad before he cut the flexor tendon of his 4th finger while changing a lawnmower blade. ;)

rlbates said...

Sure hope his repair turned out well.

Chrysalis Angel said...

"Wear protective eye gear, hand gear and footwear such as goggles, gloves and heavy rubber sole boots. (Hiking shoes with double wall leather and cleats are good. Golf shoes are even better.)" Let's not forget to protect our hearing too!

Since chemo I've lost some of mine, and find it frustrating having to ask
"What?" now.

rlbates said...

You are right, CA, we should wear ear plugs or something similar to protect our ears from the noise. I often forget to do that. My husband does it regularly with the weed eater, but not with the mower.