Texas Living

6 Essential Steps to Lawn-Care Safety

By Kolby Paxton 5.22.17

With the wildflowers and the florals of summer in full bloom, Texans will now be spending as much time mowing lawns and pruning gardens as they do staring at the Lone Star State’s bountiful flowers. Love it or hate it, lawn care is a warm weather necessity, but it can also be a dangerous chore in the absence of proper precautions.

Whether you’re a DIY lawn care pro or a first-timer, following just a handful of safety tips could make all the difference.

1. Dress Appropriately

There’s no sense in subjecting your favorite blue jeans to the abuse that often accompanies yard work, but that doesn’t mean you should mow in your pajamas either.

  • When operating lawn equipment like mowers and weed eaters, be sure to wear long pants to avoid cuts and abrasions.
  • Long-sleeve T-shirts will protect your skin from overexposure to the sun.
  • Stay away from baggy clothing or jewelry that could get caught in equipment.
  • Don’t forget proper footwear too — closed-toe shoes, such as tennis shoes or boots, are recommended.

2. Survey Your Mowing Area 

Before you get started, be sure to survey your mowing area and remove rocks, glass, kids toys, and other debris from your equipment path. Another thing to keep in mind is the pitch of your yard; if you’re mowing along a slope with a push mower, be sure to mow from side to side instead of up and down to avoid runaway equipment, tripping, and other safety hazards. With a riding lawn mower, the advice is just the opposite as mowing from side to side could pose a rollover risk.

3. Handle Gasoline Appropriately

While it may seem tedious, Texas summers are often dry and the risk for grass fires are heightened as a result.

  • Don’t fill gas tanks with the engine running, as a stray spark could ignite fumes.
  • Thoroughly clean even slight spills and store gasoline in an approved container away from your home and/or any potential sources of electricity.
  • Don’t smoke or use any sort of open flame around gas or gas-powered equipment.

4. Don’t Use Electric Equipment in Damp Conditions

After a Texas summer rain, the combination of wet grass and fresh yard clippings can make for a slippery situation — increasing your need for sturdy shoes with significant traction. Also with a wet lawn, it’s imperative to examine outdoor-approved extension cords for wear and tear, and double-check that the outlet you’re using is a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) for extra protection for both the equipment and yourself.

5. Take Lawn Mowers Seriously

For many of us, hopping onto our dad or grandpa’s riding lawn mower was a rite of passage — but mowers and tractors should be approached with a great deal of caution. Tiny Texans should be kept off of large, moving lawn equipment entirely.

6. Clean Up

Be mindful of potential risks long after the work is done.

  • Store electric equipment only after the tool is fully cooled off.
  • Reroll extension cords to prevent tripping liabilities.
  • Place weed and/or hedge trimming equipment well out of the reach of children to prevent access to exposed blades.

Ultimately, even a task as common and simple as lawn maintenance has its hazards, so it’s important to take all precautions necessary, from head to toe and start to finish.

Want a beautifully landscaped yard that will make your neighbors green with envy all year long? Look no further than our handy guide.

© 2017 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance