For eighteen years of repairing outdoor power equipment I've managed to avoid any serious injuries. That's something I plan to continue. Knock on wood. Actually, I'm not superstitious, I'd just as soon kick a black cat out of my path while walking under a ladder and then tossing a fragile mirror at the dang thing. Please, no letters from the cat lovers of the world. I wouldn't go out of my way to harm one of those transient critters. But I digress. Injuries from power equipment really isn't a joking matter.
Every year, from lawn mowers alone, over 60,000 people receive injuries serious enough to require some sort of medical treatment. If all other forms of power equipment injuries were figured in it could be considered a national epidemic. Remember, all outdoor power equipment for the lawn and garden has in one form or another the primary function of cutting, slicing, dicing or shredding. Hands, feet, fingers and toes will get mixed in with the primary function and the equipment won't notice or care. All power equipment will have moving parts, drive belts or chains, blades, clutches, fans, axles, tires, flywheel and the list goes on. Keeping your body away from these moving parts is the key to avoiding injuries. Long hair and loose clothing can get drawn in and immediately suck you in with it.
Anytime you're maintaining power equipment, treat it like a loaded gun. A rotory mower has more potential destuctive force than a 357 magnum!
Always, disconnect the spark plug wire when repairing or maintaining equipment. Better yet, remove the spark plug until you have finished the repair. The purpose is to avoid an accidental engine "kick over" while you've got vulnerable body pieces in and around dangerous equipment parts.
Always, shut off the engine and let
it sit and cool for a few minutes prior to re-fueing.
If you were to run these units at night and looked
right up the exhaust opening, you'd see it glowing
red hot. Spilled gas while re-fueling could explode
in your face. In fact, as much as 30% of the air
pollution from the use of power equipment is the
result of spilled fuel which then evaporates into the
air. One gallon of motor fuel has as much exposive
potential as several sticks of dynamite.
Re-fuel outdoors, with the engine cool, away from any sparks, flame or heat source. Your garage or other indoor area without proper ventilation, can collect fuel vapors creating an explosive condition. Washers, dryers or water heaters in the garage could provide an unexpected ignition source.
Always, when operating power
equipment, wear safety glasses, non open/slip
resistent shoes and long pants. Hearing protection
for chain saws and blowers are also a good idea.
Personal radios or tape players are not a good
idea, you want to hear if something wrong is
happening. Hearing protection blocks out dangerous
noises but allows you to still hear sounds, a
personal radio or tape player just confuses the
Always, keep the area clear of people and pets. Mowers and trimmers can fling rocks out at up to 200 MPH. Your kids or dog could become a target.
Always, walk the yard before using equipment. Look for and remove any debris your equipment wasn't designed to deal with. Rocks, dog bones and even coat hangers can cause damage to anything in it's path.
Since 1983, all residential mowers have been manufactured with an operater presence control, aka, dead man control. The control stops the blade when the operater leaves the operater position. The most common form of control is the flywheel brake/ignition shut off. More expensive but increasingly popular is the "Blade Brake Clutch", or "BBC". This allows the blade to stop without shutting off the engine, eliminating the need to restart the engine after emptying the bag. The "Feds" have determined we need this protection from the hungry jaws of the lawn mower. Actually, when you consider how many folks stick their hands down the grass chute to clear a jam and lose a finger, it's not that inconvenient to put up with. We all have brain fade from time to time. Don't bypass the system by "wiring" it up. Just get use to it. It's kind of like seat belts, after a while it becomes automatic.