Lawn mower safety | Living the Country Life

Lawn mower safety

Mower accidents happen

Mowing our yard is tricky. There are steep slopes on both sides of our house so it has to be done slowly and carefully, especially since we use a riding mower.

Ag Engineer Bobby Grisso at Virginia Tech University is a safety specialist. He says when he thinks about the mistakes people make while mowing, two things come to mind.

"The biggest safety item that I see people doing is not using sun protection, interestingly enough. And so they may have on short-sleeved clothes but their neck, their forehead, their arms get sunburned," says Grisso. "During the actual operation what I see the most is not being very careful about where the lawn mower is moving to. In other words, if you're on a slope, how do I deal with the lawn mower slipping on the slope and having that lawn mower come back on me."

Always mow up and down slopes on a riding mower, never across them. This helps you avoid a rollover.

Another unfortunate mower injury involves feet, so always mow wearing boots or shoes, never sandals. Dress in long pants and long sleeves, too, to prevent cuts and scratches.

If you run out of gas before the work is done, make sure the engine is cool before refueling.

"Because basically pouring gasoline into a hot engine, it could be very dangerous and cause a flare, or some flame coming from that. I would recommend at least five-minutes, and a lot of times it becomes fairly obvious if you're not even to put your hand on the shroud of it or anything like that you need to wait a little longer," says Grisso. "And allow yourself to cool down as well. Avoid heat strokes and some of those things."

If you need to unclog the deflection chute, turn off the mower, and disconnect the spark plug wire. Then, use a tool, not your hand, to clear out the grass clippings.

Find more mower safety tips

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