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Mower Safety

Mowers are the most common type of lawn care equipment. To avoid injury with power mower equipment, you must pay close attention to your surroundings. Whether you use a riding mower or a walk-behind mower, follow these guidelines for lawn mower safety:

  • Conduct a pre-mowing inspection of the lawn and remove any debris, rocks, limbs, or other items that could become a projectile. Look for concealed hazards such as holes.
  • Keep hands and feet away from moving blades.
  • Fill the tank with gas before beginning work. (By filling the tank initially, you can avoid having to fill the tank later when it is hot.)
  • Replace loud or faulty mufflers.
  • Shut off the engine before unclogging, servicing, or adjusting the mower and before removing the grass bag. For added protection, remove the ignition wire before working on the machine.

Riding Lawn Mowers

In addition to the general guidelines for mower safety, follow these guidelines for riding lawn mower safety:

  • Before starting the engine, make sure the transmission is out of gear and the mower blade clutch is disengaged.
  • Never allow extra riders on the lawn mower.
  • Slow down when turning and when working on slopes. Mow up and down slopes rather than across them.
  • Always look behind you before backing.
  • If you hit a large rock or stump, stop the mower and inspect the blades and shaft. Replace damaged blades.
  • Never leave a running lawn mower unattended. Before leaving the seat, park the mower on a flat area, disengage the mower blades, and remove the ignition key.

Walk-Behind Mowers

In addition to the general guidelines for mower safety, follow these guidelines for walk-behind mower safety:

  • Wear sturdy shoes with good traction. Never wear sandals around walk-behind mowers.
  • Do not bypass the safety device that stops the blade when the operator releases his/her grip on the handle.
  • Mow across slopes rather than up and down slopes.
  • Work slowly and patiently when mowing tall grass or tough weeds. Forcing the mower may cause repeated clogs and engine stalls.
  • Never leave a running mower unattended. If you stop momentarily, cut the throttle to idle and make sure the mower will not roll away.

May 2011
Reviewed November 2014