Your Place: Tips for lawn mower safety

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Put away the snowblower and tune up the lawn mower because what passes for spring these days has arrived.

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute offers some tips for proper and safe operation of all the things you need to keep your yard looking marvelous:

Use the right equipment for the task. Mowers, hedge trimmers and so forth are designed to help you manage a landscape as efficiently and productively as possible.

Select a "right-sized" product. Ask your retailer/dealer for assistance in size, capabilities, power sources and features that fit your needs.

Assign the right person to use the equipment, and allow only responsible adults familiar with the instructions to operate it. Such tools should not be operated by young people who are not physically or developmentally ready to operate them.

Alert people nearby of the work to be done. Confirm the locations of pets and children and ask that they be kept out of the area and supervised.

Read the operator’s manual to understand the controls of your equipment.

Regularly inspect your equipment. Check for loose belts and missing or damaged parts. Install clean air filters so your engine and equipment run optimally.

Have your mower’s cutting blades sharpened so it will operate more efficiently, cutting your lawn more cleanly and making it healthier.

Know your terrain. When operating on slopes, select the appropriate equipment.

Clear the area being managed. Remove any debris, wires, branches, nails, rocks, or metal that could become projectiles if thrown by the blades of a lawn mower or other equipment.

Dress properly. Wear substantial shoes, long pants, and close-fitting clothes. You also may want to wear eye or hearing protection, or both.

Observe safe fueling procedures. Fill a gasoline tank only when the engine is cool.

Do not use gas with more than 10 percent ethanol (E10) in your mower.