Hundreds of thousands of individuals are injured by a lawn mower each year. Lawn mower injuries can range from minor burns and cuts to broken bones and amputations. Protect your hands while using your lawn mower this season by following our lawn mower safety tips.
Hundreds of thousands of individuals are injured by a lawn mower each year. These injuries often occur when the user tries to remove an object that is “stuck” in the machine. Lawn mower injuries can range from minor burns and cuts to broken bones and amputations. Protect your hands while using your lawn mower this season by following our lawn mower safety tips.
Types of Lawn Mower Injuries
- Cuts: Cuts can occur anywhere on the body but most often occur on the hands and feet from the sharp blades. Small wounds or cuts can harbor unsafe bacteria. Infections are common, and antibiotic medicines usually are necessary.
- Burns: The hot engine, gas tank or exhaust of a lawn mower can cause burns.
- Missile Injuries: A variety of injuries may be caused by items, such as wires or loose objects in the lawn, being thrown from the spinning blades.
- Fractures (Broken Bones): The rotating blades of a mower can cause broken bones if you come in contact with them
- Amputations: The sharp blades of a mower can amputate part of an arm, leg, hand or foot. Burns, cuts and fractures can be so severe that the injured part of the body requires amputation to prevent infection and further complications.
How to Prevent Lawn Mower Injuries
- Read your mower's instruction manual prior to use.
- Keep your mower in good working order with sharp blades. Only use a mower that has protection over hot and sharp parts.
- Pick up potential flying objects, such as stones, toys and debris, before you start mowing.
- Wear goggles, hearing protection, gloves and long pants. Always wear sturdy close-toed shoes while mowing the lawn.
- Do not drink alcohol or use other substances before or while using your lawn mower.
- Do not remove safety devices or guards on switches.
- Never insert hands or feet into the mower to remove grass or debris. Even with the motor turned off, the blade can still be spinning. Use a stick or broom handle instead. The machine must be turned off and the spark plug disconnected (or power cord unplugged for electric models) before attempting to remove the object. The machine will likely still have one “turn” remaining in the motor/gears even after the power is disconnected, and the blades/rotors will turn forcefully once the obstruction is cleared. DO NOT assume that you are safe just because the power switch is off.
- Never lift a mower by the bottom for transport; the blades can cut fingers even if they are not moving. When being moved or picked up, the lawn mower should be turned off, spark plug disconnected, and unplugged.
- Never cut grass when it is wet or damp.
- Never allow children under age 12 to operate a push mower or those under 16 to drive a riding mower. Keep children off the lawn while mowing, and never have a passenger on your riding mower, especially a child.
- Do not pull a mower backward or ride it in reverse unless necessary.
If you suffer a lawn mower injury, seek medical attention immediately, even for seemingly small injuries. Small wounds or cuts can harbor unsafe bacteria. Clean the wounds well with soap and water. Cover them with a bandage. Infections are common and antibiotic medicines may be necessary. More severe injuries can lead to multiple finger amputations. Save any amputated body part in a sealed plastic bag wrapped in moist gauze or cloth and place that bag in another bag of ice. Go immediately to the closest emergency room. Many times, the amputated part is severely damaged and may not be possible to reattach. The further the injury is toward the fingertip, the less likely it could or should be reattached.
While advances in surgery with a microscope have improved the results of reattached fingers and hands, function is never back to normal. If the fingers are too severely crushed and damaged, they might be beyond repair. We also know that patients that do not smoke, do not have diabetes, and have fewer medical conditions have better outcomes if they sustain these injuries. Ensure that you are doing everything in your power to stay healthy and safe! Prevention is still the best treatment.
Remember, safety first at all times!