MASON CITY, Iowa - It's been a beautiful day to get outside and maybe mow the lawn. But before you fire up that zero-turn or push mower, there are few things you might need to know.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 69 Americans are killed in lawn mower accidents annually. In addition, the Academy of American Pediatrics reports that more than 9,000 children go to the ER for mower related injuries every year. However, there are ways to prevent this from happening to you. Most newer riding mowers are equipped with seat belts and roll bars, as well as allowing the blades to stop spinning if the mower is in reverse.
Randy Blakely has owned Red Neck Yard and Lawn Maintenance for 22 years, and has been busy with mowing for customers. In one instance, he remembers a rock that was chucked at a window by the mower blade, breaking it. So before that grass gets cut, Blakely recommends taking precautions.
"Nice to have safety glasses so nothing hits you in the eye. And ear plugs or ear muffs, helps your ears. And pay attention to what's all around you."
He has a fleet of not only riding, but push mowers as well, and says it may be best to upgrade to a newer mower every so often for the latest in safety features.
"I'd say every three years, it's nice to upgrade them. And make sure that you know that you have a good running mower, and make sure the maintenance is done on it and everything."
Some of Blakely's customers have hills on their lawns, so he uses a riding mower with roll bars. If you have to mow on a slope, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (or OSHA) recommends never leaving mowers unattended on a slope, and avoid mowing on slopes with an angle of over 15 degrees if no other information is given on the manufacturer's instructions. In addition, if mowing around ponds or water, it's best to evaluate terrain and establish a safety zone to operate at a safe distance.