Lawn equipment is essential to maintaining a neat and trim landscape. To operate lawn equipment properly it should be done in a safe manner. Lawn equipment safety has many concerns that need to be addressed both before and during operation. Some concerns include many precautions to take as well as other considerations. The primary injuries with lawn equipment include cuts and amputations, eye and hand injuries, hearing loss, ergonomics and driving accidents, according to OSHA.
The importance of lawn equipment safety is emphasized by the manufacturers' instructions with every piece of equipment. Insurance policies also state that safety procedures must be followed for any policy to be in force. Beyond these considerations, the proper functioning of lawn equipment is connected to the safe operation of the equipment. Improper operation can lead to damage or destruction of the equipment or serious injury or death to the operator.
Several considerations should be addressed before operating lawn equipment to ensure safety. These include an awareness of the surrounding area, weather conditions, time limits, job requirements and skill level of the operator.
Awareness includes the wetness of the turf, location of roots and rocks, location of fallen wires or branches and the location of tripping hazards such as holes or caps. Safe use of lawn equipment should be done when the threat of inclement weather is not forecast in the very near future or where past weather has caused potential hazards such as lawn equipment slipping or sliding. Having the proper amount of time to complete a task is essential to safety to ensure no shortcuts are taken. Both the job requirements and the skill level of the operator must be considered in safety; having the wrong equipment or an operator lacking complete knowledge of the equipment can cause serious damage or injuries.
Precautions should be taken before operating any type of lawn equipment to ensure safety. Reading the operating manual for any lawn equipment when first purchased or not used for some time ensures current knowledge of safe operating procedures. Protective gear is advised when using equipment with moving parts; this includes wearing long-sleeved shirts, jeans and steel-toed shoes as well as gloves and safety glasses. Precautions also require avoiding potential hazards before operation of the lawn equipment; hazards include any debris within arm's reach of the boundary area where the equipment will be operated as well as within the boundary area.
There is a difference between theory and practice with lawn equipment safety; theory is the knowledge and understanding of procedures while practice is the implementation of the procedures. Practicing lawn equipment safety includes keeping discharge chutes, grass catchers, bypass and safety guards in place during operation; proper handling of lawn equipment according to manufacturers' directions; and following safe handling procedures for disposal of waste, spent fuel or replaced parts.
Physical safety while operating lawn equipment includes many different precautions. Simple precautions to avoid injury include keeping body parts away from moving pieces when the equipment is in operation; keeping children and pets away from lawn equipment during operation; and turning off lawn equipment when removing debris, obstacles or conducting maintenance. Keeping moving parts from moving will ensure nothing can slice, catch, pull in or spit out items nearby.