Safety Tips for Operating a Push Mower

What do you need to know to safely operate a push mower? We've made a guide. Read about what to do and what not to do when mowing the lawn.

Push Lawn Mowers: Safety Tips

Keeping a well-maintained lawn is important for curb appeal, and homeowners recognize the amount of hard work it takes to keep their grass looking fresh and clean. To keep grass finely trimmed, many folks rely on versatile push mowers to get the job done. However, operating a push mower requires special care and caution — unsafe push mower operation can result not only in costly damages to the machine but also bodily injury.

Opt to wear protective, closed-toe shoes when operating a push mower

According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, an estimated 35,000 people were injured due to lawnmower accidents between the years 2013 and 2015. A large number of those injuries were foot-related; some were severe enough to require amputations.

Even in hot weather, choosing to wear a tough, covering shoe is crucial when operating a push mower. While it may be tempting to reach for a pair of flip flops, they just don’t provide the protection feet need from flying debris such as rocks, nails, or other hard objects that can be hidden in tall grass.

The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons explains that power mower blades can move at a speed of 3,000 revolutions per minute and produce three times the kinetic energy of a .357 handgun. The power a push mower packs is strong enough to result in foot-related amputations, infections, and other health issues if proper footwear isn’t utilized.

Keep children and pets away from the area being mowed by the push mower

According to a study by Enabling the Future, a global network focused on using 3D printing technology to develop prosthetics, lawnmower accidents were the top cause for amputations in children between the years 2013 and 2017.

When playing outside, children can move unpredictably. While a child may seem far enough away from the mowing area to be safe, a runaway toy or a misstep in the wrong direction could result in a terrible accident within seconds. The same thought process applies to our furry friends, too. An animal can move quickly into the mower’s path, resulting in a totally avoidable injury. When it comes to the safety of children and pets, it is best to keep them completely separated from the chance of wandering in front of a push mower.

Children and pets playing outside may also leave behind toys, trinkets, and other small items. If the push mower operator doesn’t notice these items in the grass, they could be ricocheted off the blades and thrown into someone’s feet or legs, resulting in another injury.

Consider buying a push mower with built-in safety features, such as an automatic shut-off handle

Many household products have evolved over the years to include built-in safety features. A popular feature used on many varieties of push mowers today is an automatic shut-off handle. When the operator releases the handle, the entire push mower will power down. This feature prevents the push mower from rolling forward by itself.

This also helps to eliminate the chance of the push mower being manipulated by smaller, shorter children — since toddlers aren’t tall or coordinated enough to grip the handle and pull it down far enough to activate it, there is less of a chance of them accidentally starting the machine. If the smaller child attempted to stick their fingers inside the blades or press any buttons on the push mower, nothing would happen since the handle hadn’t been activated properly.

Avoid using a push mower in wet grass

Wet grass is the sticky, slippery culprit in many mowing accidents. Because the wet grass is slippery, people operating push mowers may accidentally slide under the path of their own mower, resulting in serious injuries.

The moisture in the wet grass can also find its way into the machinery of a push mower. In the case of electric push mowers, this could create a dangerous mix of water and electricity. Besides potential bodily injury, allowing an electric push mower to be exposed to moisture could also result in a costly repair job.

Mowing the grass isn’t a household chore everyone enjoys, but by following critical safety features, it can become a much safer task to complete. Choosing to err on the side of safety not only protects users’ bodies but also their wallets.

Resources— American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons, Enabling the Future, eHow