Ah, fall. Beautiful weather calls many Americans out into their yards.
Armed with tools ranging from pruners and rakes to lawn mowers and leaf blowers, they join the battle to clean up and prepare for winter. Unfortunately, when it comes to safety, far too many homeowners are unprepared and risk injury.
For example, 79 percent of respondents to a recent poll admitted to mowing without wearing hearing protection. What’s more, 44 percent reported having listened to music and 12 percent, to having drunk beer while mowing.
The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), which represents small engine, utility vehicle, and outdoor power equipment manufacturers and suppliers, offers this advice to ensure your yard work ends with a beautiful landscape and not an emergency room visit:
· Know how to operate your lawn equipment safely before powering up
· Add gasoline only to a cold engine
· Wear substantial shoes, long pants and close-fitting clothing
· Remove sticks, stones and other objects from the area before mowing. Flying debris is the most common cause of injury
· Wear proper eye and hearing protection, which should prevent damaging noise without blocking out sounds you need to hear
· Don’t let music be distracting. You may miss otherwise obvious hazards or important sounds
· Keep children and pets away from the area. Better yet, keep them indoors with adult supervision
· Never use alcohol, controlled substances or medicines that may impair your judgment while using power equipment
· Always start mowers and other equipment outdoors
For specific safety tips about your tools and equipment, consult the owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer.
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