Every year, over 74,000 people are hurt or killed by lawn mower accidents. Nearly 22% of these injuries involve the hand, finger, or wrist. In some cases, the hand must be amputated. By understanding how injuries occur and following safety tips recommended by the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, you and your family can reduce your risk of injury, no matter what type of mower you use.
Common Causes of Injury
Accidents are more likely to happen when:
* The grass or ground is damp. Wet grass will clog the blade more easily.
* The mower is pulled backwards.
* A passenger is on a riding mower or in a cart towed behind the mower.
* A sloping lawn is mowed up and down with a power mower, instead of across.
* A sloping lawn is mowed across the slope with a riding mower, instead of up and down.
* The user wears open-toed shoes or sandals, or he/she is barefoot while cutting the grass.
* The user tries to unclog the blades with his/her hand or foot.
By knowing the conditions that are most likely to cause an injury, you can avoid these scenarios to prevent accidents.
Key Lawn Mower Safety Tips
* Read the instruction manual before using the lawn mower.
* NEVER remove safety devices or guards on the switches.
* NEVER insert your hand or foot into the mower to remove debris or grass. Even when the motor is turned off, the blade is still engaged and can harm you. Instead, use a stick to clear obstructions.
* NEVER cut the grass when it is wet or when the ground is damp.
* NEVER let a child operate the mower or remain in the area being mowed.
* NEVER allow passengers on riding lawn mowers. The operator should be the only person on the mower at any time.
* Practice preventive maintenance by keeping your mower in good working order. Maintaining sharp blades will help reduce or prevent blockages.
* Before mowing the lawn, avoid drinking alcohol, using drugs, or taking medications that can alter your state of consciousness or reflexes.
* NEVER go barefoot or wear open-toed shoes. Instead, wear protective boots or shoes with long pants, goggles, and gloves.
* Be extra careful when mowing slopes or hills. If you’re using a power mower, go across the slope. If you’re on a riding mower, go up and down the slope.
It’s best to avoid all injuries, but sometimes accidents happen. If your hand is hurt in a lawn mowing incident, contact our hand surgeon immediately. The sooner your receive treatment, the faster and more complete the recovery!