Occupational Health & Safety

Tips: Proper Safety Preparation Before Beginning Yard Work

A recent Consumer Reports poll on lawn care shows that consumers are not taking all the proper precautions before mowing their lawn, according to the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). The trade association has issued a list of top safety measures every consumer should make before turning on the lawnmower or edger or trimmer to avoid unintentional injury.

"As spring calls people out into their yards, we urge consumers to make certain preparations even before the lawn and garden products come out of the garage," said Kris Kiser, vice president, public affairs, Outdoor Power Equipment Institute. "Making good decisions around using mowers, edgers, leaf blowers and other maintenance tools are key to yard safety." According to the OPEI, before you even turn on equipment, consumers should:

  1. Know how to operate the equipment. Read the operator's manual before using any power equipment. Know where the controls are and what they do. Follow safety instructions.
  2. Handle gas carefully. Fill up before you start and when the engine is cold.
  3. Dress properly for yard work, wearing substantial shoes, long pants and close-fitting clothes.
  4. Clear up the area before you mow. Always remove stones, sticks and other objects from the area so that objects won't fly up and hit anyone. The most common injuries are from debris flying up.
  5. Wear eye protection to prevent injury from projectiles.
  6. Wear hearing protection to prevent potentially damaging sounds from reaching your ears without eliminating the sounds you'll need to hear.
  7. Don't let music distract you from hearing potentially important calls or seeing important hazards.
  8. Clear the area of people and pets. Keep children preferably indoors under adult supervision.
  9. Always start up the mower outdoors.
  10. Do not use alcohol, other controlled substances or medicines that impair judgment when using outdoor power equipment.

For a wide range of consumer safety tips for outdoor power equipment, visit http://www.opei.org/consumer/index.asp

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