Mower safety video

Mower Safety

If you have crews mowing, mower safety should be top of mind. It is hard to find a free mowing safety video lesson.  We offer one on this website.  You can follow the information below to watch it. This article is from that free safety video.

Don't assume that because someone can drive a car, that they can drive a mower. Not everyone knows how to operate a mower safely. In fact, what most people view as common sense can lead to accidents later. Although accidents are less likely for mowers and for some other equipment,

There's a number of injuries, and we'll talk about how many. Even deaths can occur from being ignorant or abusing the mower. The purpose of this training is to help you become a safe mower operator. So let's get started.

3 Key Things To Know

So three terms to know when you're talking about mower safety.


First is the power takeoff. Usually people talk about it as the PTO, and that's the area of the machine where the rotating torque is directly transferred to another machine or tool. In the mower, this is the rotating torque is used to turn the mower blades. It's easy to see, like, on a tractor. If it has a brush hog behind it, you see the tractor, then you see the power take off turning, and then you see the deck of the blades. That in between part that's turning there is the power takeoff.

Rollover Protection

Rollover protection system is attached to some vehicles, some mowers to help prevent the mow protect the driver if it turns over.

Usually, you see a rollover bar in the back, right behind the driver. You also see them on residential ride ons.

Deadman’s Switch

And the dead man's switch. There should be a device, usually in 2 places. One that's hidden on under the seat so that if you stand up, anytime you get off of the seat, it goes ahead and shuts the mower off so that it the mower won't go if you're not sitting down just in case you fall off or something.

Then there's usually also a switch you can flip to turn the mower off immediately in case of emergency. Like, you ran into something, ran over something, and you need to shut it off immediately.

How Do People Get Hurt?

So how do people get hurt? Accidents are caused by unsafe, operating on uneven ground, going, trying to do hills that are too steep, driving too fast, operating a mower that's not been maintained, and pushing the mower beyond safe operating limits.

There's a old saying, credited to Voltaire, that common sense is not that common. Unfortunately, people are still giving their little kids rides. I've seen people with push mowers barefoot. There's things like that that are just not common sense, and people get hurt. So mower injuries reported in 1 year. This is kind of old data. It's probably even more now.

But 6,200,000 people in 1 year were reported. So how many people got hurt that weren't reported? Probably twice that many. But reported, like, went to the hospital, lost, lost work time, medical treatment, job issues, 6,200,000 in 1 year.

Before You Start Mowing

So let's talk about what you do before you start mowing. So you need to be familiar with it, with your mower. Read the operator's manual. I know nobody does this, but this is really one case where you really do need to read the manual all the way through and know what you're doing.

You’ve got to remember, these are sharp blades that are, you know, going around so fast and so much can happen so quickly. Make all the necessary adjustments before turning on the machine. Don't stop and decide to do something later while it's running. Observe and question a skilled operator until comfortable with procedures.

If possible, talk to a neighbor wherever you buy it. The dealers are usually happy to take you out, you know, to their parking lot or to an area nearby and make sure that you're comfortable driving it, know what you're doing, You know, even a push mower.

If you don't know what you're doing, get some get some advice from people around you. If you're renting something, you definitely want the rental people to make sure that they've trained you completely before you take it home.

Practice operating in an open area first before you try to navigate around a lot of things, especially on a stand on or a sit-down ride on. Just be really careful because things can get out of hand really quick. So mower safety checklist. Make sure all the protective guards are in place.

Never take the guards off. Determine that the steering is responsive before beginning the job. Test the brakes. Make sure you're able to stop. Clean the clean the platform, make sure it's not going to slip, and ensure that the tires are properly inflated.

If you see marks sometimes on a lawn that are about as wide as a tire, you actually see this quite a bit. It can be that the tires are don't have enough air in it, and they're kind of flat, and that will cause that mark. Also, if you mow when the grass is too dry, that will leave a mark. So it's important that your tires are inflated.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Let’s review personal protective equipment. Let's just make sure we got on some safety glasses in case things are flying around. You've got gloves. These can be leather gloves or these work gloves like here. It’s not going to keep your finger from getting cut off if you stick it up in a blade, but it is going to help with anything flying around, skin irritants. You know, you bang into stuff.

You go by branches. It happens. So it's good to have gloves on when you can. Some people need dust masks, especially if you have any allergies, asthma, anything like that. You want to wear a dust mask. Sometimes it just gets so hot and dry with all the grass blowing around. You just need that anyway. Be sure and wear long pants.

Especially if you're going to trim with a string trimmer, always wear long pants. Just another one of those things where it keeps your skin from getting irritated by all the grass. You also could get burned by the exhaust more easily. So you just need to have on long pants.

Hearing protection. The some of the mowers are extremely loud, so having hearing protection is a great safety maneuver. And like I said, you want to just have common sense. Don't be out there in your flip flops, barefoot, have kids running up, grabbing your leg, all those kinds of things.

Just be careful. So now you've done everything you need to do to get ready to mow. So now the operating procedures. We're going to talk about general safety procedures.

Mower Safety: General Safety Procedures

There's operating on hills and avoiding things that you're going to throw with the blades. So you don't want to mow in conditions where the traction or stability is questionable, like too steep. Only the operator is allowed on equipment. It's fun to give kids rides, things like that.

This just isn't the right thing to do. If you had to give your kids a ride, you wouldn't you disengage the blades so that they couldn't even turn. So if worse came to worse and the kids fell off or something happened, there wouldn't be, you know, blades going, but they could still get hurt badly.

Really, you don't want to have any more than one person on there. The operator should not adjust anything as long as the mower is running. I was actually working with a company in Texas, and we got a call.

And the guy had cut off some of his fingers because he decided to adjust the height of the mower, while the mower was still running. And he still could have done that without putting his hands underneath the deck like he did.

He should have turned it off anyway, but he was minus 3 fingers after that. I also was in another situation where with a different piece of machinery, and it had a chain going on it. And the person stuck their hand in between the chain and the cog that the chain goes on, and they cut off all their fingers.

So you'd think that people wouldn't do that, but they do. So just don't do always just completely turn it off. And when you're leaving when you get up to leave your seat, it should go ahead and shut itself down, like I said a while ago.

If you've unhooked that or bought it from someone who has unhooked it, you need to hook it back up. And never refuel the equipment while the engine's running or extremely hot.

I know it's tempting if you have one of those machines that has issues with starting back up when it's hot, and you might have to wait a few minutes before it cools back off to get it restarted. But fill it up before you start, and chances are you'll have plenty for the lawn.

If worse, if you're doing a huge area and you run out of gas, then just make sure that you start at the back so that whenever you run out, you're going to be more towards the front. And make sure it's completely shut off before refilling.

Mowing On Hills

Mowing on hills. Number one cause of mower accidents by far. If in doubt, do not mow on uneven ground. If you even think an area is too sloped or the ground is too uneven to operate a mower safely, use a weed eater or use a push mower going straight up and straight down.

There are mowers that will disengage that won't allow you, if it's too much of a tilt, like 20%, 25%, it won't even let you do that. There are some mowers that are more made to be able to do a lot steeper areas. They have different wheels. They're more of a tank type wheel. Some of them have tracks.

But for the most part, just stay away from areas you're just going to have to use a weed eater. You could spray it eventually with a growth regulator so that it only needs it maybe once a month, every 6 weeks, something like that. There's other there's other alternatives.

So mowing on a hill, if you just must do it, then lock the differential for better traction on the slopes in slippery places. Some of them have rear or front wheel weights to increase stability and steering and traction, if it's one of those special mowers like that.

Don't try to stabilize it by putting your foot on the ground because you're likely to run over your foot. Drive up and down a hill, not across. That's how they that's how they flip. Do not stop. If the mower stops going uphill, then turn off the PTO and back it down slowly. And slow down so that you can see and react to hazards in your path.

Mowing Too Fast

Overturns are 4 times more likely to occur when the speed is doubled. If you're going too fast, a lot of bad things can happen. So you want to avoid anything you can throw if you can see them. I know there's a lot of dog toys, kids balls, things are out there that you might not be able to see if you let your grass grow too high. If you have lived in an area where there's a lot of rocks, like I live, there's a lot of rocks that can be thrown. You need to think in your mind about what can happen.

Mowing High Grass

So you want to check-in areas where grass and weeds are high enough to hide debris and things that could be struck and thrown. These areas should be closely inspected before mowing and these objects collected.

Areas with high grass and weeds should be mowed to an intermediate height about halfway, then look around, and then mow the rest of the way. That way you can catch anything that you didn't see. Equipment shields must be in place, and estimate how far and in what direction objects may be thrown.

I used to always do this when I mowed. You see things and you maybe you have to drive over some gravel or, you know, something like that. And you think, if I you know, if it catches just right, what am I going to catch?

And then where is it going to throw it? Is it going to throw it into those glass windows or, you know, back out away into the lawn? So always be thinking about that.

Mowing Safety Summary

So let's summarize. You need to know where your dead man's switch is.

You never know what's going to happen. You need to be able to turn it off in a heartbeat. Do not unhook or remove any safety features. If you bought a mower from someone else, make sure that they haven't unhooked the dead man switch from the bottom of the seat or any of the other safety features. Wear your safety equipment. It's great to have on too much than too little. Do not mow if it's too steep. Weed eat instead.

Spray with products to control the grass height as an alternative. Do whatever you need to do, but do not mow if it's too steep. Remember, that's the number one cause of mower accidents.

Look for things that might be thrown by the mower and predict where they would fly if you caught them up in the mower. And keep up with your maintenance. Keep your blades sharp. Make sure they're on there tight. Make sure there's no problems with the engine.

Keep up with all your maintenance. If you follow all these things, you should have a great mowing season and future. Thank you, and be careful out there.

Want to watch the video or show it to your employees?  Check it out below.

Mower Safety Video Lesson

Join Our Lawn Care Business Managers
Mailing List

Sign Up to receive product updates and special offers from our team. We have a lot of great free tools to share with you.