Spring yardwork should mean more than digging out your garden tools from the back of the shed and filling the gasoline tank. The same hedge clippers, weed trimmers, mulchers and tillers that make your yard beautiful can also cause serious injury to operators and bystanders.
Injuries often occur because of improper use, failure to heed important safety instructions from the manufacturer, inadequate maintenance of tools and mechanical problems. Often, the victims of these accidents are children who are unaware of any danger and are playing in the area where power equipment is being used.
When using any lawn or garden tool, be sure to:
- Dress appropriately for the work environment. Wear sturdy shoes or boots that provide adequate traction on slippery grass. Tennis shoes and bare feet are no match for whirling blades and thrown objects. Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts to provide some protection from thrown objects. Wear eye protection. Even a small piece of grass or speck of grit in the eye can cause a very painful eye abrasion.
- When using motor-driven equipment, use hearing protection. Wear heavy gloves when changing or sharpening blades and when cleaning around blades. Tool blades can cut or pinch hands or fingers even when tools are not operational.
- Walk around the area in which you will be working before starting lawn and garden work, and remove any objects that could damage the equipment or cause injury or property damage. Objects such as stones, metal, glass, or wire can break bones and cause other severe injuries when thrown from lawnmowers and other equipment.
- Keep children indoors away from power equipment. Children move quickly and are attracted to mowing and other power equipment activity.
- Be sure that safety devices on the equipment are in place and functioning properly before starting work.
- Unplug electric tools and disconnect spark plug wires on gasoline-powered tools before making adjustments or clearing jams near moving parts.
- Be sure power tools are turned off and made inoperable if they must be left unattended. This will prevent use by children.
- Remember never to fill gasoline tanks while equipment is operating or when equipment is still hot.
- Older teenagers should only be allowed to operate outdoor power equipment if they possess adequate strength and maturity to do so safely. They also should be supervised by a responsible adult. Never let younger children operate power lawn and garden equipment.
- Never work with electric power tools in wet or damp conditions. Be sure that extension cords are in good condition and are the proper size for the electrical current capacity of the tool.