The sun is shining, the grass is growing, and the memories of snowdrifts up to our knees are beginning to fade away. With summer comes an abundance of yard work, and many of those tasks involve us using equipment and tools. Without proper precautions, summertime injuries are bound to occur. Please heed the list below as you wander out to mow. Don’t cut your summertime short due to a preventable injury!
By and large, lawn mowers cause the most significant number of injuries of any house tool. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 38,000 people per year are injured while using walk-behind power mowers. Diane Simon, RN, CEN, trauma coordinator/registrar for ProMedica Defiance Regional Hospital, says to be sure to follow these tips while mowing to prevent injuries:
- Wear proper protection. Snug clothing that can’t catch on branches or cause you to trip, as well as closed toed shoes with grip soles, offer the proper protection. Eye protection will also keep dust and debris out of your eyes. Ear protection is important, as lawn mower noise can damage hearing.
- Clear the lawn of any twigs, rocks or other objects that can become projectiles once struck by the blade and propelled out the mower chute.
- No other people should be outside while the mower is operating. Lawn mowing is not a spectator sport, and never allow young children to operate a power mower.
- Keep hands and feet away from the blades. Leave all blade guards in place.
- Don’t cut the grass when it’s wet. Wet grass can clog the discharge chute and cause the engine to shut down. Be sure the mower is off before attempting to remove the clog.
- Most mowers today have a safety feature that shuts the mower off if the operator walks away from it. Do not disable this feature!
- If you’re using an electric mower, start cutting closest to where your cord is plugged in and work away from that point so you don’t accidentally run over the cord. Treat this in the same way you might treat vacuuming the living room.
- When mowing a slope with a push mower, mow across the slope, never up and down. When using a riding mower, mow up and down, as this reduces the risk of tipping the mower over.
Weed trimmers are a handy tool for quick, efficient trimming of your lawn, but these devices are not risk-free either. Follow these tips:
- While it may be uncomfortable to wear long pants on a 90° day, it is advisable while trimming. Denim is best due to its thickness.
- Closed toe shoes may not be enough protection, since it leaves the ankles vulnerable. Even the cut blades of grass flying onto your legs sting. Closed toed boots are the best option to protect both the feet and the ankles.
- Allow the device to cool before adding more fuel.
- Do not walk backwards or sideways while trimming. Face the area you are trimming so that you have a clear view of any obstacles.
By following these rules for a safer lawn, along with protecting yourself from the sun, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying your summer in the great outdoors.