Spring cleaning is in the air! As the weather warms up, people are taking the opportunity to work outside and clean up their yards for the spring and summer. With working outdoors comes the possibilities of injury. Be sure you are working safely. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) an "average of 35,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms annually for walk-behind power mower injuries,” between 2013 and 2015.
The CPSC offers the following safety tips for tractors and riding mowers:
- Drive up and down slopes, not across.
- Avoid sudden turns; slow wide turns reduce the chance of tip over.
- If the machine stops when you are moving uphill, disengage the blade first, then back straight down the hill slowly.
- Don't allow children on the mower. Make sure children are both out of the mowing area and supervised by an adult.
- Before backing up, look down and behind the machine. Children art often attracted to the mower and the mowing activity.
- Keep guards, shields, switches and safety devices operational at all times.
- Clear lawn of objects such as rocks, toys, wire etc. which could be picked up and thrown by the blade.
- Finally, read and follow the operator's manual
The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery additionally suggest taking the following precautions to help reduce the risk of injury:
- Use a lawn mower with a control that stops the blade if the handle is released.
- Remove stones, toys and other objects from the lawn before mowing to prevent injuries from flying objects.
- Kids should be at least 12 years old before operating a push lawn mower and 16 before operating a riding mower.
- Wear polycarbonate protective eyewear while operating the mower.
- Use a stick or broom handle – not your hands – to clear debris from the mower.
Newer lawn mowers are being made with more safety features, but that does not replace the need for operator safety. Do not be in a rush when using tools such as a lawn mower. Take the time to do the job safety and correctly.
One Team. One Vision. One Goal. – Everyone Goes Home Safe!