Warmer weather is just around the corner. Soon the buzzing sound of lawn mowers will be heard throughout cities, towns and the countryside, a sure sign that summer has arrived. Just as the power lawn mower provides a convenient and easy way for homeowners and lawn services to mow lawns, the power mower can also be one of the most dangerous tools around the home, especially for children and adolescents.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2007, nearly 210,000 people, including 16, 200 children under age 19, were treated for lawn mower-related injuries. Lawn mower-related injuries often require a team of doctors with various specialties to perform reconstructive surgeries on hands, feet and faces. Patients may experience long and painful recovery periods. The lawn mower operator or those nearby may be at risk for serious injuries; deep cuts, loss of fingers or toes, burns, injuries to the eyes and broken bones. These simple precautions must be observed to help prevent injuries from occurring:
– Children should be at least age 16 to use a ride-on mower. Children under 12 should never operate a push mower.
– Do not wear loose fitting clothing that can become entangled in mower parts. Do wear sturdy shoes-not sandals or gym shoes- when mowing.
– Before you begin mowing, pick up sticks, stones and other objects from the lawn to prevent injuries from flying debris. Use a collection bag for grass clippings or install a plate over the opening where grass clippings are released.
– Wear safety glasses and hearing protection.
– Shut off mower before refueling, making repairs or adjustments. Allow engine to cool before refueling. Refuel and start the engine outdoors-not inside a garage.
– Never carry passengers on a riding mover. A riding mower is designed to carry one person.
– Beware of slopes, holes and hidden hazards. Generally, it is safer to mow slopes in a up and down pattern, but do not attempt to mow a steep slope where the mower loses traction.
– If you prefer a push mower, use a mower with a control handle, that when released, will prevent it from moving forward.
– Avoid pulling backward or mowing in reverse unless essential. Be extra careful to look for children behind you.
– Blade settings and adjustments to dislodge debris should be done by adults only. The mower should be off and the spark plug removed/disconnected to prevent injuries.
– Children should be away from the area you are mowing.
If you observe all of these precautions, chances are you will prevent a lawn mower-related injury from occurring. However, lawn mower manufacturers may fail to install adequate safety systems, such as rollover protection or “no mow in reverse” systems, that contribute to a wrongful death or serious injury. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Henry Hanflik have extensive experience in handling lawn mower-related accidents and injuries. If you or a loved one have suffered a serious injury as a result of a defective lawn mower, contact us at 888-905-4632 for a free consultation.