Prioritize lawnmower safety as spring approaches

  • Published
  • By Eric Hoehn
  • 88th Air Base Wing Safety Office

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- The power lawn mower is one of the most dangerous tools around the home. Each year, approximately 68,000 persons with injuries caused by power mowers were treated in emergency departments. More than 9,000 of the people hurt were younger than 18 years. Older children and adolescents were most often hurt while cutting lawns as chores or as a way to earn money.  

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.  

What can I do to be safe? 

Here are a few simple safety recommendations: 
* Children younger than 12 should not operate push-style lawnmowers. It is recommended that no one younger than 16 should operate a riding mower. 
* Never let a second person ride or jump on a mower while it is running  
* Ensure your push mower stops the blade when the control handle is released. Riding mowers should stop when the rider leaves the seat. 
* Always wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes. Do not mow in sandals or with bare feet. 
* Wear long pants to protect legs from projectiles. 
* Before mowing, scan the lawn to remove toys, hoses, tools and large rocks – they could become projectiles.  
* Keep children out of the area you are mowing. 
* Don’t mow wet grass – you could slip, finding your feet in the path of the blade. 
* Use extra caution on banks and slopes. 
* If possible, never pull a mower backwards. 
* Stay alert to others entering the mowing area. 
* Do not operate a lawnmower under the influence of alcohol. 
* Use eyewear and hearing protection to avoid injuries to these body parts. 
* Never refuel a mower when the engine is hot, to prevent burns.