Think Safety When Mowing

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With the spring rain falling and temperatures rising, the grass and weeds are growing both in our yards, roadsides, and pastures. Between the rains, we are using lawnmowers and tractors with attached mowing equipment to make our yards and driveway entrances look neat and well kept. When using mowers-of all kinds, I want to remind everyone to be safe. Most injuries are related to thrown objects or contact with rotating parts. With small tractors this could be related to the Power Take Off (PTO) shaft that makes the mower turn. Most injuries could have been avoided if the operator had been properly trained, aware of their surroundings, and inspected the work area prior to using the equipment.

Let’s review the main safety measures to keep us and our families safe:

  1. If you haven’t read the operator’s manual on safety yet this season, pull it out and review all the safety points. If you don’t understand something, call a friend or the equipment company who will kindly answer your questions.
  2.  If you do not have an operator’s manual call the company and request one.
  3. Check all shields guards and safety signs to see that they are correctly in place to prevent possible cut injuries or entanglement.
  4. To prevent bystanders from being hit with thrown objects, you should make sure discharge deflectors are in place and working properly.
  5. If you have older equipment without guards, spend a little money. Ask your dealer to bring it up to safety codes and standards.
  6. Make sure the cutoff switch (connected to the seat of your riding lawn mower) is working.
  7. Always wear your seat belt to prevent falling from the tractor and being run over. You should also avoid using a tractor without a Roll Over Protection Structure (ROPS).
  8. Do not allow riders to either sit or stand on the mower or equipment as this can result in serious injury or death should they slip or fall.
  9. Never, never, never attempt to adjust, repair, or perform maintenance on your equipment without first stopping all moving parts, including the engine.
  10. Before you work near or under a cutter deck, make sure it is securely supported and/or held in place to prevent being struck by any falling object.

Part of this information came from the ADMA and I recommend their web site for more information on safety: ADMA. If you want to know any information about yards or pastures, call the N.C. Cooperative Extension of Lincoln County office at 704.736.8461.

Submitted by the Livestock & Forage Extension Agent for Lincoln County residents and surrounding area, Glenn Detweiler 405.219.1902.