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Properly operating mowers reduces risks of falling victim to lawn related mishaps, injuries

USU Extension writer.

Hospital emergency rooms treat more than 60,000 individuals with lawn care related injuries annually.

The majority of the injuries occur in victims younger than 16 years of age and are primarily attributed to unsafe practices rather than equipment malfunctions, indicated Richard Beard, Utah State University Extension agricultural engineering specialist.

Children younger than 12 should not operate power equipment, advised Beard. A person's body size, strength, coordination, experience and maturity affect the ability to safely operate a mower.

To improve lawn mowing safety, Beard urged Carbon County residents to:

•Review operator's manuals and manufacturer's recommendations for operation.

Prior to using mowers, people should check for worn or loose tires, belts, guards and covers.

Blades should be sharpened periodically to improve quality of cut and maintain operating efficiency.

•Wear safety glasses, snug fitting clothes, long pants and work shoes when mowing.

Shields as well as guards must remain in place and people should know how to turn off a mower.

Safety kill switches, levers or disable controls that power blade rotation should never be bypassed.

•Never place hands or objects in the discharge chute or under the deck while mower is running.

Debris should be removed from the area prior to mowing since rocks, stumps and sticks can become dangerous projectiles.

•Direct open discharge chutes away from people and never mow lawns around children.

•Never leave a running mower unattended.

•Travel across slopes with walk-behind mower or up and down slopes with riding mower.

•Never allow passengers on riding mowers.

•Disengage blades or turn engines off and push mowers across dangerous surfaces.

•Turn off and allow mowers to cool before adding fuel or working on an engine.

People should allow rotating parts to stop before adding fuel and making adjustments or repairs.

•Mow only dry grass.

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