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Proper Safety Preparation Before Yard Work Begins Reduces Risk of Injury

May 10, 2010

Alexandria, VA – May 6, 2008 – A recent Consumer Reports poll on lawn care shows that consumers are not taking all the proper precautions before mowing their lawn, according to The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). In observance of June’s National Safety Month, OPEI is issuing a list of top safety measures every consumer should make before turning on the lawnmower or edger or trimmer to avoid unintentional injury. OPEI has championed safe use of outdoor power equipment for more than 40 years and regularly provides numerous safety resources for consumers, governments and other interested parties.

“As spring calls people out into their yards, we urge consumers to make certain preparations even before the lawn and garden products come out of the garage,” said Kris Kiser, Vice President, Public Affairs, Outdoor Power Equipment Institute. “Making good decisions around using mowers, edgers, leaf blowers and other maintenance tools are key to yard safety.” According to an April Consumer Reports poll, 79 percent of respondents don’t wear hearing protection with their mowers, 44 percent listen to music while mowing and 12 percent stated that they drink beer while mowing.

Added Kiser, “There are some simple steps everyone can take before tending to the lawn and garden to ensure an enjoyable, productive and safe backyard experience.”

According to the OPEI, before you even turn on equipment, consumers should:

  • Know how to operate the equipment. Read the operator’s manual before using any power equipment. Know where the controls are and what they do. Follow safety instructions.
  • Handle gas carefully. Fill up before you start and when the engine is cold.
  • Dress properly for yard work, wearing substantial shoes, long pants and close-fitting clothes.
  • Clear up the area before you mow. Always remove stones, sticks and other objects from the area so that objects won’t fly up and hit anyone. The most common injuries are from debris flying up.
  • Wear eye protection to prevent injury from projectiles.
  • Wear hearing protection to prevent potentially damaging sounds from reaching your ears without eliminating the sounds you’ll NEED to hear.
  • Don’t let music distract you from hearing potentially important calls or seeing important hazards.
  • Clear the area of people and pets. Keep children preferably indoors under adult supervision.
  • Always start up the mower outdoors.
  • Do not use alcohol, other controlled substances or medicines that impair judgment when using outdoor power equipment.

For a wide range of consumer safety tips for outdoor power equipment, click here.

About OPEI
OPEI is an international trade association representing the $15 billion landscape, forestry, utility and lawn equipment manufacturing industry. OPEI is committed to ongoing efforts to ensure consumer safety and access to outdoor power equipment in order to maintain and enhance outdoor landscapes. OPEI works with federal, state and local groups to ensure that equipment operates efficiently, effectively and is fully emission compliant. For more information on OPEI visit