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Lawn Mower Safety
Americans enjoy their backyards and good times with family and friends. From lawn mowers to weed trimmers, people power up to keep their lawns in beautiful shape.
That's why it's vital people know the rules of the lawn -- how to use outdoor power equipment responsibly, especially riding lawn mowers.
A change to the mower safety standard, set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), is in effect that prohibits a riding mower, manufactured after September 1, 2004, from mowing in reverse. However, manufacturers can allow, in certain situations, for people to mow in reverse. Previously, there was no provision on mowing in reverse in the industry standard, although some manufacturers voluntarily prohibited mowing in reverse for many years. While mowing in reverse is not recommended, there may be certain situations where people feel they need to mow in reverse.
Here are important lawn mower safety tips we've compiled in cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission and other safety and health experts.
- Read Owner's Manual Before Operation.
- Think first, then reverse. Always check what's behind you to make sure there are no children, pets or objects, before operating a riding mower in reverse.
- Keep hands and feet away from rotating parts and from under machine.
- Wear eye protection. Always wear safety glasses or goggles during operation.
- Clear the mowing area of debris.
- Do not mow when children and others are around.
- Never let children ride on the operator's lap or anywhere on the mower.
- Slow down before turning and use extra caution on slopes. Do not mow slopes greater than 15 degrees. For riding mowers, always mow up and down on a slope, NEVER mow across the slope on a riding mower. Mowing across a slope can cause the tractor to tip over. For walk behind mowers, always mow across a slope, NEVER up and down. Mowing up and down a slope with a walk behind mower can cause the operator to slip and get caught under the mowing blade.
- Keep safety devices (discharge chute cover, safety interlocks, belt guards, etc.) in place and working. If damaged, replace immediately. Never remove or disable a safety device.
- Disengage blades when not mowing. Never cross gravel areas with the blades engaged. Avoid discharging material against a wall or obstruction which may cause discharged material to ricochet back toward you.
- Handle gasoline with care. Use only an approved container. Extinguish cigarettes, cigars, pipes and other sources of ignition. Never fuel the mower indoors. If fuel is spilled on clothing, change clothing immediately. Let engine cool for at least 2 minutes before re-fueling.
- Know your machine before you mow. Make sure anyone who operates the mower understands and follows the safety and operating instructions in the user manual and on the mower.