Spring is almost here; the season of warmer weather and spending more time enjoying the outdoors. If you are one of the millions of people who like to mow their own lawn in order to keep the grass nice and healthy, keep reading to find out about important precautions you need to take in order to avoid lawnmower accidents.
Lawnmower accidents affect more than 70,000 people every year in the U.S. Over 20% of these accidents result in injury to the wrists, hands, or fingers, and close to 25% of these injuries result in amputation.
The energy generated by a lawnmower rotary blade is comparable to three times the energy created by a .357 Magnum pistol! Which is why lawnmower injuries can be so devastating. In addition, the rapid speed of the blades can send dirt and bacteria deep into any wound, creating a high risk for infection when injured in a lawnmower accident.
In order to prevent accidents and injuries while operating a lawnmower, these are the main rules to follow:
- Have your lawnmower serviced at least once a year before you use it for the first time in a season.
- Before using your lawnmower for the first time, read the instruction manual.
- Add fuel before starting the engine.
- If your lawnmower is electric, use a fault circuit interrupter to prevent electric shock.
- Never remove any safety devices or guards from your lawnmower.
- Never operate your lawnmower while intoxicated.
- Refrain from mowing the lawn when the grass is wet or damp.
- Always wear protective gloves, goggles, and long pants when using a lawnmower.
- Never mow while barefoot or in sandals, always wear sturdy shoes.
- Don’t allow passengers to ride with you on the lawnmower.
- Don’t allow children in or around the area being mowed.
- Remove stones, toys, and other objects from the lawn before starting to mow.
- Do not touch the engine cowling, it can cause serious burns.
- When mowing hills or slopes: mow across with a push mower to avoid pulling the mower over your feet if you slip. Mow up and down with a riding mower to prevent mower from tipping over.
- Do not mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary.
- Do not leave lawnmower unattended while it is running.
- Always turn off the mower before crossing gravel paths, roads, or other areas, removing the grass catcher, or unclogging the discharge chute.
- Never use your hands to remove grass or debris, even if the motor is turned off. Use a stick or broom handle instead.
- Children should be at least 12 years of age before operating a push lawn mower, and age 16 to operate a riding lawn mower.
Even while taking all of these precautions, accidents sometimes happen. The specialists at HSST see a variety of patients with gardening related injuries and can help restore your hand function without having to visit the emergency room.