It’s easy to think of most consumer products as ‘safe’, after all they’re mass produced, available for anyone to buy, and presumably have to pass or adhere to a whole host of government directives and other legislations. It’s perhaps this complacent mindset that makes certain items, such as power tools, or in this case lawn mowers and strimmers, more dangerous than they should be.
The fact is that a high powered motor spinning a blade or wire round at several thousand rpm has the potential to do more damage than just cut grass. The biggest two concerns are physical injury, either from the blade itself, or more commonly from an object struck and thrown up by the blade, and from noise induced hearing loss. You don’t have to be a professional gardener to suffer from either of these, but it’s certainly worth taking all the same precautions that someone who uses these machines on a daily basis would do.
Therefore aside from common sense practices when mowing, discussed with examples here, it’s also important to wear the right protective clothing to avoid any potential injury. As a bare minimum you should consider wearing/using:
- Eye protection- either a face shield or safety googles/glasses
- Hearing Protection- ear defenders or ear plugs
- Safety footwear- preferably steel toe capped boots or shoes
Gloves are also a good idea if they improve your comfort when using a walk behind mower, and it’s also advisable to wear a helmet if you use a ride on mower. If you really want to air on the side of caution, shin guards aren’t a bad idea when using a walk behind mower, though thick trousers will be enough for most people.
When choosing safety equipment it is important that it is comfortable so that you avoid the temptation to remove it whilst mowing. After all, ear defenders are no good to you if they are just resting around your neck! To that end ensure that you choose sizes that fit you, not just in physical terms but in terms of your habits as well. For example, if you are prone to losing small things, ear plugs might not be the best option, better to go for ear defenders instead ! Also bear in mind that safety footwear is very rigid and won’t allow the same freedom of movement as normal shoes, so bear this in mind when choosing – lace ups rather than slip ons will allow for some adjustment.
These precautions really will pay of dividends, not just because the hazards they protect against are unfortunately all too common, but because they will also force you to be safety concious as you cut the grass. And once you’re happy you’ve got things covered in safety terms, it will leave you free to enjoy the task at hand, and the warm summer’s air (all things being equal!)