Stats & Tips to Raise Your Lawnmower Safety IQ:
Mowing a lawn: You and all of your neighbors do it every weekend of the summer, right? Operating a lawn mower, however, requires preparation and careful consideration of safety issues. Each year, more than 74,000 small children, adolescents and adults are injured by rotary, hand and riding power mowers due to improper handling. Don’t become a statistic; read on to safely mow your lawn and get your yard looking its best.
Kinetics of Rotary Power Lawnmowers
Kinetic energy (motion) imparted by a standard rotary blade is comparable to the energy generated by dropping a 21-pound weight from a height of 100 feet or is equal to three times the muzzle energy of a .357 Magnum pistol. Blade speed can eject a piece of wire or an object at speeds up to 100 miles per hour.
- Adults 25-64 years
- Children under age five
- 22% involve wrist, hand or finger
- 14% involve foot, ankle or toes
- 25% of all hand and foot injuries result in amputation
- Deaths occurred in children under six years of age
Common Injury Patterns
Direct contact with rotating or jammed blade
Serious avulsion (tearing/separating) injuries to soft tissue and bones
Gross contamination from contact with grass and soil harboring pathogens
Injuries requiring multiple staged surgeries to cleanse wounds and provide soft tissue coverage (to regenerate healthy tissue/skin)
Common Weather Conditions
Other Causes of Injury
Passengers (adult/child) on riding mowers or in cart towed behind mower
Mower being pulled backward
Sloping lawn mowed by power mower up and down slope, instead of across
Sloping lawn mowed by riding mower across slope, instead of up and down
Wearing sandals or open-toed shoes
Operator attempts to unclog blades with hand or foot
Read your mower’s instruction manual prior to use.
DO NOT REMOVE safety devices or guards on switches.
NEVER insert hands or feet into the mower to remove grass or debris. Even with the motor turned off, the blade remains engaged.
ALWAYS use a stick or broom handle to remove any obstruction.
NEVER cut grass when it is wet or when the ground is damp.
NEVER allow a child to operate the mower at any time or be in the area to be mowed.
NEVER allow passengers, other than the operator, on riding mowers.
Keep your mower in good working order with sharp blades.
DO NOT DRINK before or while using your lawnmower.
Wear protective boots, goggles, gloves and long pants.
Do not operate the lawnmower while barefoot.
Be cautious when mowing hills or slopes.
REMEMBER — SAFETY FIRST AT ALL TIMES!
Material modified from the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.