Staying safe while mowing your lawn this summer

HUNTSVILLE Ala. -- With warm weather here, and more and more people being outdoors working in their lawns, it is important to remember lawnmower safety.

"The last thing you want to do is get out there and be careless," said Bryan Hill, the sales manager of Hill Lawnmower and Chainsaw Inc.

He said one of the most common injuries he sees is when people try to change their lawnmower blade.

"These blades are sharp in some instances, so if you reach under there, you want to be real careful," Hill said.

Hill said the first important step in staying safe is knowing your equipment.

"The most important thing is to make sure that all the safety systems are working correctly on the lawn mower," he said.

He said owners need to know their safety switches, use their seatbelts, and rollover protection systems. He said next, you have to maintain that equipment.

"When it comes down to tire pressure, grease fittings and things like that," Hill said. "Blade bolts are tight or your tire isn't right, and it can actually cause safety issues also."

He said you should have your mower maintained at least once a year, and have the safety systems checked out. He said these safety tips aren't just for commercial mowers, he says safety is even more important in residential areas. Which leads to the most important safety step, always being aware of your surroundings.

"Now these machines, especially zero-turn machines have the ability to cut in reverse," Hill said. "And you just start cutting in reverse and dog or kid or anything like that can actually get hurt. So it's really important to look around before you actually start cutting grass, especially mowing in reverse."

If you have a walk-behind mower, Hill also recommends that you use a shield, or side discharge, to keep debris from hitting you or others.

He said that every time you use a machine you need to remember the dangers mowers pose, and always stay alert.