Lawnmower Accidents are not Freak Accidents
Many of us have been cutting grass and trimming our lawns for years. We started with someone showing us how to operate the equipment and how to do it safely. Today, if you work for a professional lawn care company, the goal is still the same … to do your job well and be safe as you do it.
Don’t Assume They Know
When hiring employees to work for your lawn care business it may be easy to assume that they should know how to use lawn mowing and trimming equipment because most of them use it at home. This assumption can lead to serious bodily injury and property damage accidents, both of which may lead to costly insurance claims.
Injuries are not Freak Accidents
Injuries from lawn mower incidences are often described as “freak accidents.” From flying debris to equipment rolling off retaining walls, mower accidents can seem surreal.
Mower victims often think that their personal injury case might be one in a million, but the reality is that lawn mower accidents are quite common. Each year, 75 people are killed, and 20,000 injured from lawn mower related activities.
The most common lawn mower accidents typically result when the lawn mower operator or bystander is struck by an object propelled by the mower blades. Projected objects can be shot from the mower at speeds of 100 miles per hour or more. Spinning mower blades can also cause severe physical damage to objects and injury to people. Accidentally coming in contact with hot mower surfaces can also cause serious burns.
Train Employees to Avoid Accidents
OSHA requires commercial lawn care companies to provide workers with proper training, safe equipment, and the necessary personal protective equipment before they can operate any lawn mower or trimming equipment. It should also include information on the safe operation of specific mowers and equipment the workers will use.
Periodic refresher and remedial training is specified by OSHA for an operator who has been observed operating a mower in an unsafe manner; has suffered an injury; or been involved in a near-miss incident. Additional training is mandated if an operator is asked to operate unfamiliar equipment or on terrain that presents new hazards. Federal child labor laws also prohibit children under the age of 16 from operating lawn mowers, lawn trimmers, and weed cutters.
Developing a Lawn Care Safety Program
For those with safety and training programs in place, remember to take advantage of them. For those needing to implement a more detailed program there are resources available from OSHA and others that can help. Here’s one we found on Mowing and Trimming Safety.
The Mitchell Agency
We would be happy to sit down with you to review your safety programs and current insurance coverage. Please give me, Vince Shissler, a call at 765-742-1135, or email me at [email protected].