This Father’s Day, my thoughts are with all the hard-working Dads who care for the lawn themselves. This task is inherently dangerous. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) keeps injury statistics from lawnmowers or garden tractors. They estimate about 230,000 people each year are treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries relating to various lawn and garden tools. Also, about 75 people are killed each year, and about 20,000 are injured on or near riding lawnmowers and garden tractors. One out of every five deaths involves a child. For dads who mow the lawn – keep it safe.
Mower Safety Tips
Information is power, and information about tools such as lawnmowers helps ensure safe operation. Whether the lawnmower is old or new, read the owner’s manual occasionally. Lost the manual? Check the Internet; many manufacturers have posted those manuals online.
At the start of the mowing session, check the equipment. Ensure the blades are sharp and all the safety shields and cutoff switches are installed and in proper working order. Disconnecting or removing safety features is for sissies! Keep the equipment clean of debris, check that all the bolts are tightened, and secure the belts.
Prevent Accidents and Injury
Handle gasoline with care. Never refill the gasoline tank while the lawn mower is running. Let the motor cool for five minutes before filling. Every time fuel up outdoors and appropriately clean up any spills.
The easiest way to prevent injury is to avoid it. Walk the areas to be mowed before each mowing. Clear the areas of stones, sticks, toys, debris, children, pets, and significant others. If the kids are not there, they can’t get hurt. And, yes, I know, riding on the mower with Dad is supposed to be fun, just don’t do it!
The statistic bears repeating – one out of every five deaths from mowers involves a child. CPSC estimates that most of the deaths of children occurred when a child was in the path of a moving mower. Children get in the course of the mowers by falling off.
Dress the Part
Whether it is the summer, Florida, or other steamy locations, it’s hot, but wear long pants and long-sleeve shirts – leave the jewelry inside. Make sure clothes fit and are not baggy and floppy. This will protect from flying objects and being caught in moving parts.
Cover up for protection from the sun and heat. Wear a hat, long sleeves, and long pants for best results. Even occasional gardeners must take precautions to protect themselves from short-term effects – burns and long-term effects – skin cancer from sun exposure.
Choose sturdy shoes with non-skid soles – Yes, that means no sandals, flip-flops, or canvas sneakers. It’s your toes you are protecting. Protect eyes and ears too. Both can be at risk from mowers and other equipment. Wear safety glasses and hearing protection every time.
So, for the Dads who mow the lawn – keep it safe. Be careful out there for yourself and your family.