Whitesburg KY

Be safe when mowing

The start of summer is usually hectic. First of all, there are a lot of chores to complete. And then thrown into the mix are the various holidays, graduations, maybe even crop planting. All this aside, there is the abundant grass to mow. Here are some mowing safety tips from the Letcher County Emergency Management Office.

The blade on a lawn mower rotates to provide approximately 52 cuts per second. Translated into feet, the tip of the cutting blade of the mower travels about 300 feet in the same second. This is not an amusing fact. Each year, it is not uncommon to read or hear about a person’s foot that was caught underneath a walkbehind mower, or about a person whose eye got hit by an object thrown by the mower, or a child that was backed over by a riding lawn mower. Techniques for safe operation of a walk-behind mower include:

• Read the owner’s manual. It contains information about your specific mower.

• Wear proper clothing, close-fitting clothes and shoes with toes and traction soles (preferably leather).

• Eye protection is always recommended.

• Ear protection will reduce the level of noise heard.

• Clear the area to be mowed of debris that may be thrown. The same updraft that helps raise the grass for better mowing always helps to pick up objects.

• Keep children and other bystanders away from the mowing area.

• Mow in a forward action, more difficult at times but safer.

• When mowing on a slope, mow across the slope with a walk-behind mower. This keeps a better distance between you and the mower in case of a slip.

• Wait till the grass is dry before mowing. When the grass is growing rapidly, there is typically more grass left from the previous cutting. This retains moisture and causes slips. This is in addition to the lack of traction normally available on wet grass.

• Always shut off the mower before adjusting or clearing clogs.

• Allow the mower to cool before refueling. Use only approved safety containers to store fuel.

For riding mowers, follow the same recommendations except when mowing on a slope. Always mow up and down a slope on a riding mower.

Tips for safely using a riding mower are:

• Never carry passengers.

• Remove the ignition key after each use.

• Use age 10 as a guideline to allow children to operate riding mowers. It is not until this age that many children have developed the cognitive and motor abilities needed for safe operation. Even at this age, adult supervision is a necessity.

• A 15 percent slope is the maximum to attempt to mow. For a man of 5’8″, this would translate into three average steps and the height of your knee. If after taking three steps, you have risen more than the height of your knee, the slope is too steep.

• Keep all safety devices, switches, guards, and shields in place and working.

• Before dismounting, shut off the engine and allow attachments to stop moving.

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