Take care of your lawn and yourself to avoid a trip to the ER this summer

lawn mower safety
lawn mower safety(WEAU)
Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 4:03 PM CDT
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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) - July is peak season for lawn care injuries. Each year, thousands of people are hurt while mowing the lawn.

Some of the most common lawn mowing injuries include cuts, burns, projectile injuries, or amputations.

“So most trauma injuries that we see from lawn mowers are hand injuries or foot injuries, so either somebody’s not wearing the correct foot protection so they’re wearing flip flops while they’re mowing lawn or they’re sticking their hand in lawn mowers that have got grass stuck in them and the lawn mowers are still running,” said HSHS St. Joseph’s & Sacred Heart Hospitals Trauma Coordinator Regi Geissler.

Geissler says most mowing-related injuries can be prevented by slowing down and using common sense.

“Making sure you wear goggles when you’re mowing lawn, ear protection because lawn mowers are very loud, wearing closed toed shoes, not flip flops, making sure the kids aren’t around when you’re mowing lawn,” said she said.

Here are some tips to help prevent injuries:

  • Read your mower’s instruction manual prior to use.
  • Keep your mower in good working order.
  • Pick up potential flying objects such as stones, toys and debris before you start mowing.
  • Wear goggles, hearing protection, gloves, long pants and closed-toe shoes.
  • 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.
  • Never lift a mower by the bottom for transport; the blades can cut fingers even if they are not moving.
  • 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.
  • Do not pull a mower backward or ride it in reverse unless necessary.

Some of the most common lawn care injuries include:

  • 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 severe burns.
  • Missile Injuries: A variety of injuries may be caused by items such as rocks, sticks or other loose objects in the lawn being thrown from the spinning blades.
  • Fractures: The rotating blades of a mower can cause broken bones.
  • Amputations: The sharp blades of a mower can amputate part of an arm, leg, hand or foot. Plus, burns, cuts and fractures can be so severe that the injured part of the body requires amputation to prevent infection and further complications.

If you experience a lawn mowing injury, it’s important to seek emergency help immediately.

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