Thomas J. Koske | 4/7/2006 2:27:47 AM
Nearly a half million injuries occur each year from lawnmowers and garden equipment. Riding lawnmowers account for almost 6 percent of these injuries.
Carelessness is the leading cause of accidents involving power equipment, according to LSU AgCenter lawn care expert Dr. Tom Koske, citing an Outdoor Power Equipment Institute study. The combination of power, projectiles, blades and gasoline make power lawn equipment serious business.
Before using power lawn equipment, keep these major points in mind:
– Prepare the area to be cut. Check for wire, dog bones, sprinklers, toys, wood, rocks, athletic equipment, sump holes and any other hazard.
– Wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Close-fitting clothes are less likely to get caught. Long pants and sturdy shoes protect skin from abrasion. Ear plugs are often needed, as are a dust mask and eye protection.
– Handle fuel products with care, especially around a hot engine. Two-cycle engines require the proper oil-to-gasoline mixtures. Wipe up fuel spills before starting.
– Mow safely, ensuring children are well clear of the area. Be aware of where your discharge chute is blowing. The same precautions apply to string trimmers.
– Do not mow wet grass. Dry grass cuts better. Wet grass clogs the mower deck and is slippery both for you and the mower. This danger is especially critical on inclines. Push mowers will go across the sloped areas, but riding mowers should go up and down slopes.
– When leaving the mower, adjusting it or removing the clippings basket, turn the mower off. Likewise, disconnect the spark plug wire before servicing and working under the deck.
For additional advice on caring for your lawn and landscape, contact a county agent in your parish office of the LSU AgCenter or on the Web at www.lsuagcenter.com.
Source: Tom Koske (225) 578-2222, or firstname.lastname@example.org
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture