Safety reminders for lawn mower lifestyles

The grass turns green. Soon it will be time to start mowing, if you haven’t started already. If you’re getting your mower’s engine running for the first time this spring, here are some guidelines to help keep you and your family safe.

While mowing your grass may seem like a harmless task, it has its own dangers. A 2018 study by John Hopkins researchers analyzed emergency rooms due to accidents involving lawnmowers over the past eight years. They found that 6,394 Americans are injured in lawnmower accidents every year. Cuts are the most common injuries, followed by fractures and amputations. People are most likely to injure their hands and wrists compared to their toes and feet.

Never allow additional passengers on a lawn mower. It is a good idea to have children and pets around the house while you mow.

Understand your mower and its safety features. Do not start an unfamiliar mower without first familiarizing yourself with it by reading the instruction manual or by having someone show you how to operate it. Most push mowers have a clutch handle that quickly turns off the engine and blade when you take your hands off them. Most lawnmowers have a kill switch located under the seat. This turns off the mower’s blade and motor when the operator leaves the seat. Rider mowers do not start until the operator first disengages the blade. Large mowers have rollover protection structures to prevent rollover. If your mower has a seat belt, wear it. These are all important security features that you shouldn’t turn off.

Before mowing, make sure your garden is free of branches or stones that can turn into dangerous projectiles if hit by a mower.

Wear proper clothing, including non-slip, non-slip shoes, long-sleeved shirts, and tight-fitting pants with no strings to get caught in the mower, eye and ear protection, and a hat to protect your head from the sun. If you have long hair, put it in a ponytail.

Do not mow backwards as you may not be able to see obstacles behind you.

For more information, please contact the Laurel County office of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service educational programs serve all people regardless of economic or social status and are not discriminated against based on race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political beliefs, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

Source: Joshua Jackson, Assistant Professor of Expansion, Biosystems, and Agricultural Engineering

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