Here are a few ways to prevent lawnmower accidents, courtesy of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons:
1. Make sure the lawn-mower is in proper working order each year before using it. Do the yearly maintenance before using the mower, and take it in to a professional for any repairs.
2. Do not remove safety devices, shields, or guards on switches.
3. Only add fuel when the machine is cool (this isn’t an issue with a reel mower). Adding gasoline to a hot engine can cause an explosion or fire.
4. Keep your hands and feet away from the blades, even if the lawn-mower is turned off. If the blades jam on something, be careful when dislodging it. Removing an obstruction from the blades can cause the blades to start up suddenly, and you don’t want to have your hands in the blades when that happens.
5. Do not mow the grass barefoot. Sandals are also a bad idea.
6. Do not mow wet grass, icy lawns, sharp embankments, or operate a mower in any other situation with poor traction. If you can’t safely control the lawn mower, then wait for conditions to improve.
7. Use a mower that automatically stops spinning when you stop pushing. Reel mowers do this, and some power mowers have automatic shut-off switches built in.
8. Keep the grass collector or mulch bag attached to the mower. This will catch many objects that might otherwise be flung through the air by the blades.
9. Wear safety glasses or other eye protection. If you have hay fever, then goggles may be a good idea. Even if they look dorky – red, swollen eyes look even worse and you can always take the goggles off when you’re done mowing.
10. Wear ear plugs or mufflers when operating loud machinery.
11. Do not try to lift more than you can handle. There’s a reason that heavy lawn mowers have wheels. Trying to lift them can cause everything from muscle strain to hernias and ruptured discs. Even if the distance involved is very small (like a 6 inch tall curb), it’s better to be safe than sorry. Get some help, or walk the mower around to a ramp.