One of the leading causes of emergency room visits during the summer is related to lawn mower incidents; Between 2003 and 2005, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated that 37,000 injuries directly related to mowers were treated. A Johns Hopkins study puts the number much higher; They say that more than 80,000 Americans are injured each year during the outage. And about 95 deaths per year are attributed to lawn mower incidents. Here we will discuss both the known and lesser known mistakes people make when using lawn mowers that lead to accidents, and how they can be prevented.
The most common causes of mower incidents are the victim falling or being thrown from the machine, often when it tips over, or the victim being run over by the machine. To help prevent this, there is a safety standard for mowers made in 2003 or later. Adhesion is voluntary, so even if you are purchasing a new machine, you will need to make sure the label indicates it meets ANSI B71.1 2003 standards. Features include preventing the blade from rotating if the operator leaves the seat or if the mower is in reverse, better stability involving turns and traction, and a higher backrest.
Many accidents happen because people initially buy mowers that have these safety features, but then decide to unplug them. Generally, if the blade stops rotating under its weight leaving the seat, you will be safe if the mower tips over or falls from a retaining wall or other elevation. Without these safety features, drivers often lose their fingers and toes on impact.
According to the Annals of Emergency Medicine (AEM), people over the age of 70 had the highest rate of lawn mower injuries. Their study also found that the total number of lawnmower injuries has increased in the United States over the past nine years.
The AEM noted that a large number of injuries were caused by debris that came out from under the mower, struck a part of the body or injured the eye. Due to the high incidence of projectile-related injuries, they recommend wearing protective clothing and goggles when mowing the lawn. Other common injuries were nonspecific pain after mowing and foot fractures, 34% of which resulted in toe amputation.
To avoid injury:
- Use the correct type of mower. Select a mower that is suitable for the job and large enough to do it correctly.
- Wear glasses, long sleeves, long pants and closed shoes
- Wear protective gloves when servicing your mower
- Never repair your mower while it is running
- Operate your mower up and down a slope (not sideways) to maintain stability
- Prepare the lawn for mowing the lawn; Remove sticks, toys, rocks, and other items from the lawn. If the grass is tall, look for objects that can break the blade such as pipes or rocks that are partially buried in the ground.
- Never smoke while refueling
- Never run a hot engine and clean up spills immediately.
- Do not start the engine and run it in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
Ride-on lawn mowers were created for convenience, but they can be a hazard if not used correctly. Be sure to read your owner’s manual and do not disable the safety features available for your machine.