Lawn mowers can be dangerous even when used properly. Be proactive when it comes to safety and follow these tips to avoid injury:
Know the equipment.
Read the owner’s manual. Be familiar with all the safety features and don’t break any of them. Keep all nuts and bolts tightened properly. Never pull the lawn mower running.
Check the yard before cutting and wearing the right clothes. Pick up rocks or rubble. Heavy shoes and trousers provide the best protection from flying debris. If you are using a lawn mower, do not wear loose clothing.
Protect your hearing. Doing yard work can be very noisy. Apart from lawn mowers, high decibel noise comes from trimmers, edgers and blowers. Use earplugs or earmuff-type hearing protection.
Keep pets and children out of the yard while you are cutting. Do not allow children to operate lawn mowers unless they are strong, responsible and understand all the operating and safety features. Even then, keep an eye on them. Never give young children a ride on a lawn mower. A sudden stop, a flying object, or an excited child can spell disaster.
Be careful when refueling.
Stop the lawn mower and let the engine cool for 10 minutes before refueling. Never fill a tank with a lawn mower. Avoid spills by using a gas can with an adequate pouring spout. Clean up spills immediately and place used rags in closed metal cans. (Cloth soaked with gasoline is a fire hazard.)
Turn off the lawn mower.
Never leave the lawn mower running unattended, or work on a running motor. Turn off the power when you are crossing non-traffic areas.
Be careful on the hill.
Steep slopes are always dangerous because lawn mowers can flip or get out of control. Plant ground cover other than grass in these areas. On a gentle slope, cutting across the slope, not up and down. Use a lawn mower.
To protect the tree, leave less ground grass rings at least 3 feet wide around the tree trunk. Put in a nice brick or stone edging around the outside. Better yet, cover the open ground with a thick layer (3 to 6 inches deep) of organic mulch, such as compost or bark. (Keep the mulch a few inches from the base of the tree.)
You can also go to the garden center to buy a trunk guard, a plastic sleeve that surrounds the tree trunk, if you must have grass right on top of the tree.