Lawnmower Safety on the Farm
You take a lot of pride in your farm. There’s no better feeling knowing that it looks fantastic and well-manicured. The hard work and effort that goes into keeping a well-maintained lawn is much the same as any other task on the farm. It has to be approached with a focus on getting the job done safely. And although it may seem trivial to review safety guidelines for lawn mowers, it’s clear that all power tools should be treated with respect. Working together safely pays off. Employees, and family members, are less likely to get injured, and you’ll feel great knowing that people are doing everything they can to work carefully. A great idea is to write up a list of protection equipment that people will be expected to wear when working with the mower and post it on the wall where it’s stored. Take a look at this guide to make sure that everyone knows how to operate lawn mowers safely.
Protect Against Projectiles
Of course, mower blades are moving quickly. But, did you know that they can throw debris, rocks and other materials at speeds exceeding 100 mph? That’s fast enough to break a window, dent siding or potentially injure bystanders. And this is where your safety equipment comes into play. Remember to always wear impact resistant eyewear. And be sure that your feet are well protected with a sturdy set of boots.
Lawn mowers can get loud, so keep the noise down by putting on a pair of ear muffs or use disposable ear plugs. It’s smart to keep gloves handy, as you’ll likely need to be moving debris while mowing. Consider wearing a dust mask on dry days, too.
Respect the Ride
We spend a lot of time teaching our kids how to drive a car correctly, so take the time to observe kids on a riding mower and educate them about staying safe. Prior to operating, remember to inspect the undercarriage, and safely remove any collected debris with a stick or broom handle, not with your hands. Watch new users on a test drive; never let them ride alone the first time without a trainers’s eye. Have them perform a series of skill-based moves that should be mastered in order to operate the mower safely. Start by surveying the area and take a look around for objects and terrain which could pose a hazard. Once identified, remove or flag these items. Preventative steps like these can reduce the risk of launching debris into the air or potentially damaging the mower. Also have them review important sections of the mower’s user guide too. Often, manufacturers will post how-to videos online that can round out training for kids and employees. They’ll be smarter about how to operate the machine correctly and you’ll have greater peace of mind knowing that they’re well trained. Remember to reinforce safe mowing skills by offering rewards for being careful.
Hot Engine Management
It’s always a better idea to start with a full tank, so be sure to fill up before you start mowing, while the machine is cool. Train operators on how to fill the tank without spilling any gas. If refueling will be necessary midway through mowing, be sure that all users let the engine cool down first. And of course, never allow smoking when gasoline vapors are present. Make sure your employees are aware of burn risks around the exhaust line. Another good idea is to have operators get in the habit of performing a quick inspection of the mower each time they refuel. Look for tires that may need air, and check the oil if your mower stores it separately. A keen eye can catch a small problem before it turns into a big one.
An Ounce of Prevention
It’s worth noting that adults need to be very cautious when mowing the lawn — they make up the majority of those seeking immediate care as a result of lawn mower-related injuries. The good news: most of these problems can be prevented if mowers are used in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications. Put reminders in your calendar to sharpen the blade and get maintenance performed at regular intervals.
Finding that perfect balance between getting the job done and getting it done safely is an ongoing process. Is your family farm fully protected? Review your farm policy with an American Family Insurance agent and get the coverage your hard work deserves.