Safety Using Outdoor Power Equipment

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute helps homeowners operate their lawn and garden equipment safely with advice and suggestions to keep everyone in the know about using lawn and garden gear.

By Gene and Katie Hamilton

Safety Using Outdoor Power Equipment

Does your home and property house stop traffic? It can when it looks its best with a freshly cut lawn, manicured garden beds and trimmed shrubbery and bushes, sure signs it is well cared for. The pros at the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) have some sage advice to make that happen with these eight tips to help care for, store and use outdoor power equipment that will help you maintain your property. Read their suggestions (and follow them) so when you're using outdoor power equipment you know you're playing it safe.

  • Read the operator’s manual to understand the controls of your equipment.
  • Inspect your equipment for loose belts and missing or damaged parts. Drain and responsibly dispose of old oil and put in fresh oil before starting equipment that has been in long-time storage. Install clean air filters so your engine and equipment will run optimally.
  • Have your lawn mower’s cutting blades sharpened so your mower will operate more efficiently, cutting your lawn cleaner and making it healthier.
  • Only allow responsible adults who are familiar with the instructions to operate the machine. Do not let children use outdoor power equipment.
  • Confirm the locations of pets and children, and ask that they be kept out of the area where you are working.
  • Clear the area. Remove debris, wires, branches, nails, rocks, or metal that may become projectiles if thrown by lawn mower blades and other equipment.
  • Wear substantial shoes, long pants and close-fitting clothes. You may want eye or hearing protection.
  • Fill your gasoline tank only when the engine is cool. If you need to refuel before completing a job, turn off the machine and allow the engine to cool. Never light a match or smoke around gasoline.
  • For more good advice go to www.opei.org and click on the Safety Tips tab.

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