From 2012 through 2014, an average of 36,000 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for walk-behind power mower injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Please use the tips below to avoid injury from walk-behind lawn mowers.
USING THE WALK-BEHIND ROTARY MOWER
- Fill the fuel tank before starting the engine to cut the lawn. Never refuel the mower when it is running or while the engine is hot.
- Check the lawn for debris (twigs, rocks and other objects) before mowing the lawn. Objects have been struck by the mower blade and thrown out from under the mower, resulting in severe injuries and deaths.
- Don't cut the grass when it's wet. Wet clippings will probably clog the discharge chute, ultimately could jam the rotary blade and shut down the engine. When you need to remove clippings from the chute, the rotary blade must be stopped.
- Wear sturdy shoes with sure-grip soles when using the mower, never sneakers, sandals or with bare feet. Slacks rather than shorts offer better protection for the legs. Never allow young children to operate a power lawn mower.
- Children should not be allowed on or near the lawn when the rotary mower is in use. Push the mower forward, never pull it backward.
- If the lawn slopes, mow across the slope with the walk-behind rotary mower, never up and down. With a riding mower, drive up and down the slope, not across it.
- Don't remove any safety devices on the mower. Remember that the safety features were installed to help protect you against injury. Check safety features often and repair or replace if needed.
- With an electric mower, organize your work so you first cut the area nearest the electrical outlet, then gradually move away. This will minimize chances of your running over the power cord and being electrocuted.
- Read the owner's manual to become familiar with the workings of the machine. Keep the manual in a safe place so it will be handy when you need it the next time.
- Check the manual for hints on performing routine maintenance, checking engine oil levels and fluid in powered wheel drives, and performing maintenance when the mower is stored during the off-season.
OLDER WALK-BEHIND ROTARY MOWERS
If you cut grass with a pre-standard rotary mower, use extreme caution. Remember that the machine does not have the safety features of the newer equipment.
- If clippings jam the discharge chute, first shut off the engine. The blade must come to a complete stop before you attempt to clear the jam. If you try to clear the chute while the blade rotates, your fingers could be amputated.
- Push the mower forward, never pull it backward.
- If you want to adjust the cutting height on any machine, do so before starting the engine. The blade should always be stationary.
- Shut down the engine if you leave the operator position for any reason. If you wish to disable the mower so no one can use it, simply remove the ignition wire from the spark plug or remove the spark plug.