Lawn Mower Safety Checklist

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Using a lawn mower is crucial to ensuring a lush, beautiful and well-manicured lawn appearance. However, if the lawn mower is misused, you could end up spending more time recovering from an injury in the hospital or at your home.

To ensure a safe lawn mowing experience, read this article to learn about the basic lawn mower safety checklist that can prevent lawn mowing hazards.

Ready? Let’s dive right into it:

Lawn Mower Safety Checklist

Here is a basic safety checklist for using riding and walk-behind lawn mowers:

Riding Mower Safety Tips

  • Read the owner’s manual and understand how to use the riding mower safely. 
  • Drive your riding lawn mower slowly and cautiously.
  • Do not mow without enough daylight.
  • Don’t allow kids to ride as passengers.
  • Do not make sharp turns at high speeds, especially when mowing on hilly terrain.
  • Do not mow in wet conditions.  Mowing on wet grass can clog the mower and cause it to slip.
  • Do not operate your mowing without all guards in place.
  • Do not dismount a running lawn mower.
  • Ensure that you do not insert your feet or hands under a running mower.
  • Do not back up your riding mower with the blade spinning. Your children may sneak up behind you. 
  • It is not advisable to mow in bad weather conditions
  • Check your riding mower for worn or damaged parts and replace as necessary. 
  • Check to know if the riding mower comes with a seatbelt and rollover protective structure (ROPS). If not, ensure that you have it retrofitted for one.
  • Do not use portable music players because they can distract you from noticing potential safety dangers.
  • For a stable ride, ensure that the tires are properly inflated.

Walk-Behind Lawn Mower Safety Tips

  • Read the owner’s manual and understand how to use your walk-behind mower safely.
  • Make sure that the mower is clean.
  • Locate all machine controls and operations and ensure that you are familiar with them.
  • Do not operate the mower if the guards are defective or missing.
  • Check the mower for any missing, broken, or defective parts and replace them when necessary.
  • Keep the mower blades secure, sharp and in good working condition.
  • Clear the area to avoid debris being thrown.
  • Watch out for any ejected material and make sure that no person or pet is endangered when using the mowing machine.
  • Do not mow in wet conditions.
  • Maintain a secure footing and proper balance.
  • Allow your mowing machine to cool down before refueling.
  • While using a walk-behind mower, avoid pulling it towards you.
  • Take off any foreign material in and around the catcher and engine parts.
  • Put off the gas supply when the work is completed.
  • Before adjusting or clearing grass clogs, turn off the mowing machine, remove the spark plug and enable it to come to a total standstill. 

12 Safety Tips To Follow Before Mowing

Here are some tips to follow before carrying out your mowing operation:

  • Ensure that the children are indoors or at a safe distance that is far away from the area that you intend to mow. 
  • Make sure that you read the operator’s manual and instructions on the mowing machine.
  • Check these conditions:

Do not carry out mowing operations in bad weather such as a thunderstorm.

Avoid mowing wet grass.

Avoid mowing without adequate daylight. 

  • Clear the mowing area of any objects such as toys, twigs and stones that can be thrown or picked up by mower blades.
  • Ensure that your grass catcher, protective guards and other safety tools are placed rightly on your mowing machine.
  • Check fuel and oil levels.
  • Check the air pressure in each tire.
  • Adjust and sharpen your mower blades.
  • To ensure maximum mowing efficiency, make sure that your lawn mower is in good condition.
  • If you own an electric lawn mower, make use of a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) to prevent electric shock.
  • Do not allow children to ride as passengers on garden tractors or other ride-on mowing machines.
  • Refuel the mower’s motor when the mower is turned off and cool. 

9 Safety Tips To Follow While Mowing

  • Ensure that you put on close-fitting clothes, closed-toe shoes, safety glasses/goggles, slip-proof soles with hearing protection and side shields.
  • Turn off the mowing machine and check if it strikes an object. If the mower is faulty, do not operate it until you fix the issue.
  • Be on the lookout for objects that can be thrown or picked up by the mowing machine. Tall grass can conceal bumps, holes and items. 
  • Mow with caution when approaching trees, corners or any other object that can obstruct your view.
  • Apply extra caution while carrying out mowing operations on sloped terrain.
  • Homeowners that own a riding lawn mower should mow up and down slopes and not across slopes to avoid tipping over.
  • If you own a walk-behind lawn mower, mow across the face of slopes rather than up and down, to prevent tripping and falling into the mower blades. 
  • Keep kids away from the area where you are working. They tend to be attracted to lawn mowers that are under operation.
  • Ensure that you and your kids maintain a safe distance from the exhaust.

4 Safety Tips To Follow After Mowing

  • Make sure that you turn off the engine, remove the key and store it safely.
  • Ensure that you lower any raised components when parking the lawn mower.
  • Take off debris and grass. Furthermore, clean and service the engine when necessary.
  • Lock the garage or storage room when you are done.

When Is My Child Old Enough to Mow The Lawn?

Before teaching your child how to mow the lawn, he/she must be able to show maturity, coordination and a good sense of judgment.

Children should be at least twelve years old to operate a walk-behind mowing machine safely while those that are sixteen years of age should be able to operate a riding mower safely.

Before you allow your child to mow the lawn alone, you need to spend time with him/her to operate and carry out the task in a safe manner.

Make sure that you supervise your child’s mowing skills until you are confident that he/she can mow safely.

5 Lawn Mower Safety Mistakes To Avoid

Here are some common mistakes that you can avoid to ensure safe mowing operations:

1.  Mowing Slopes The Wrong Way

It is important to avoid mowing slopes the wrong way. When you are using a riding mower, ensure that you go up and down hills rather than across slopes. 

When using a walk-behind lawn mower, you shout cut back and forth across the hill. 

2. Becoming Lax on Maintenance

Do not allow your mower to lack regular maintenance. Always keep proper records of when and how to maintain it. This will enhance its efficiency and functionality.

3. Failing to Survey the Area

It is possible that you know the area’s topography, but new sticks and other impediments may have popped up. Always check the area before and while carrying out mowing operations.

4. Skipping Full Personal Protective Equipment

You need to avoid this mistake while mowing. Some lawn mowers are very loud and they require hearing protection to prevent hearing loss.

Ensure that you also use eye protection to prevent objects like sticks, stones, and tree branches from causing injury to your eyes.

5. Incorrect Loading of Lawn Care Equipment

When transporting your lawn mower from one site to another, it is important to ensure that your mower is properly secured to prevent it from getting damaged during transport.

What are the Hazards of Using a Mowing Machine?

Some of the hazards of using a lawn mower include

  • Rollovers may pin the user or cause contact with the blades.
  • Non-induced hearing loss after long-term exposure to the sound of the mowing machine.
  • Burns caused by touching the cylinder or muffler that has not been given time to cool.
  • Body parts that come in contact with the blades of the mower.
  • Being hit by objects that are thrown by rotating mower blades.

How Can You Prevent Lawn Mower Injuries?

Here are some tips on how to prevent lawn mower injuries:

  • Read the owner’s manual of the mower before use.
  • Pick up flying objects such as debris, stones and toys before mowing.
  • Ensure that your mowing machine is working properly.
  • Avoid taking alcohol or other substances before or while using the mower.
  • Ensure that you wear protective gear such as close-toed shoes, gloves, long pants and hearing protection while carrying out mowing operations.
  • Do not cut wet grass with your lawn mower.
  • Avoid inserting your feet or hands into the lawn mower to take off debris or grass. Ensure that the blade has stopped spinning after turning off the lawn mower.
  • Make sure that you use a broom handle or stick to remove the grass or debris instead. Before you remove an object, make sure that you stop the mower and get the spark plug disconnected.
  • Do not allow children that are under 16 years to use a riding mower or those that are under the age of 12 years to operate a walk-behind mower.
  • Ensure that you keep children off the lawn while carrying out mowing operations.
  • When transporting your mower, avoid carrying it by the bottom. The mower blades can cut your fingers even if they are not moving.