According to the National Safety Center, accidents are seven times more likely to happen at home than at the workplace. Gas and electric-powered tool and lawn equipment provide the catalyst for many injuries to users, as well as bystanders. A weedeater is one such power tool that possesses many hazards often overlooked, or unknown, by the user. Applying a few basic safety precautions will eliminate these hazardous, and result in a safe lawn-growing season.
Pre-use Weedeater Safety Checks
Weedeater safety begins even before the tool is used. A thorough pre-use inspection to identify loose or damaged safety guards or moving parts will help to reduce the potential for accidents. Make sure the trimmer head is on tight, as well as the head guard. The handle and strap adjustments should be properly adjusted to accommodate the specific user comfortably. Fill the weedeater with fuel and wipe up spills before starting it.
Adequate protective equipment and clothing will protect the user from most hazards associated with using a weedeater. Safety glasses or face shields protect the eyes and face against debris kicked up during use. Earplugs or earphones, when consistently worn, will reduce the chances of long-term hearing loss. In addition, fully enclosed shoes and long pant legs are necessary to reduce the potential for injury by hurled debris.
Always be aware of the immediate surroundings while using a weedeater. Trimming around obstacles such as stone edging, walking paths, and fences, can easily cause debris to break off and deflect back at very high velocities. Moreover, maintaining a firm footing at all times will reduce the chances of slips and falls. While trimming on steep inclines, position the trimmer in such a way that if a slip or a fall occurs, the weedeater does not pose a hazard.
Never use a weedeater in close proximity to pets or other people. Flying debris kicked up and propelled by the weedeater can cause serious injuries to unsuspecting bystanders. In addition, a child or playful pet is likely to run into the weedeater’s path with no warning.
Service and Maintenance
Even when not actually using the weedeater, service or maintenance performed before hand, or immediately after, has the potential to cause an accident. Service and maintenance practices to avoid include:
Incorrectly installing the line spooler - can come loose while trimming, and become a dangerous projectile.
Guards and shields left off of the tool after service – creates a hazardous condition by exposing the trimmer head.
Filling with gas while the motor is hot – becomes a potential ignition source and fire hazard.