Even though a mower has been designed to trim grass, it is important to remember that it also has the ability to cut through anything that is placed in its path. The blade spins at speeds of up to 300 kilometres per hour; at these speeds, even a dull one could easily slice fingers and toes. If you are in the market for a used ride on mower, it is essential that you take a moment to brush up on your safety knowledge, particularly if it’s been a while since your last purchase.
Firstly, it is important to understand what sorts of hazards a rider presents. As well as possessing an incredibly sharp blade, these machines have been known to turn discarded materials (such as toys, stones and sticks) into projectiles. Moving parts and the engine can cause burns, as they remain hot for some time after use. Petrol (which is a common power source) is a highly explosive and flammable substance, and overturning is a concern on slopes.
In order to avoid injuries and accidents associated with the hazards outlined above, it is important that you employ safe practices when driving a ride on mower. We have outlined some of the main ones here:
- Read the Operator’s Manual and ensure that you carefully follow the instructions. The manual will explain safe procedures for your model.
- Prepare the Lawn Prior to Mowing by picking up objects (such as sticks, stones and toys) to avoid them becoming projectiles.
- Check the Guards and Shields, as they will help to prevent injury. All protective devices should be in place before starting the mower.
- Handle the Fuel with Care and never fill the tank whilst the engine is running. You should also fill up outside and clean up spills immediately.
- Dress Appropriately so that you can perform the job safely. This includes close fitting clothes and closed toe, sturdy footwear.
- Keep Children and Pets Clear of the area whilst mowing. Children and pets are unpredictable and small, so you might miss them.
- Never Carry Passengers, as they can be thrown from the mower and run over. The presence of a passenger can also distract the operator.
- Never Allow Horseplay, as play with a mower is just asking for trouble. It should only be used for the purpose it was designed for.
- Avoid use on Steep Slopes, as overturns do occur. On smaller slopes, ensure that you drive up and down rather than side to side.
- Take Care of the Machine by regularly cleaning and maintaining it, especially during the grass cutting season.
- Turn the Engine Off When Unclogging the discharge chute. Wait a few seconds before sticking your hand in for the blades to stop moving.
- Never Leave a Running Mower Unattended; if you need to leave the operator’s seat for any reason, turn the engine off.
Whilst it is true that a lot of mowers available today come with safety features, it is important to remember that the machine is still dangerous and that used models may not be as up to date. Improper use of your used ride on mower could result in serious injury or even death, so it is essential that you are on top of all the safety requirements of using such a machine. At the end of the day, exercising some simple common sense will be sufficient protection.