Five killer outdoor power equipment-related dangers

Life-saving tips to keep people and pets safe from summer lawn care dangers

Canton, Mich.— RepairClinic.com®, the trusted online store for replacement parts for outdoor power equipment, home appliances and heating and cooling equipment, today shared a list of outdoor power equipment dangers and tips about how families can protect themselves.

  1. Flying debris.

“Lawn mowers and handheld outdoor power equipment can propel debris – such as pet and children’s toys, stones, plastic edging, wood chips and pieces of aged blades –at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour,” said Jeff Linderman, RepairClinic.com’s on-staff landscaping expert. “Being hit with these objects at such a speed can be fatal to children and pets.”

How to prevent injury caused by flying debris:

  • Walk the area before beginning a lawn care routine.

Relocate toys, hoses, rocks and sticks to prevent costly and dangerous damage to your equipment.

  • Check the lawn mower blade regularly.

Look for damage, bends and dullness. Blades should be replaced every year or two, depending on usage. Replacement blades are inexpensive and easy to install.

  • Make sure the mower’s trail shield is working properly.

A mower’s trail shield located at the back of the mower prevents debris from flying out toward the operator. Before each mowing season, check to make sure this is working properly and free of tears.

  • Don’t adjust the mower’s deflector.

Despite warnings against this in owner’s manuals, people often remove or adjust the position of their mower’s deflector,” said Linderman. “This results in debris flying a longer distance.”

  • Keep children and pets far away.

“Always keep children and pets inside when the lawn mower or any outdoor power device is in operation,” said Linderman. “Be mindful that neighborhood children and pets may also venture near you.”

  • Dress appropriately.

When operating the equipment, wear closed-toe, slip-resistant shoes, safety goggles, gloves, a hat to reduce sun glare, ear plugs and cover your skin as much as possible.

  • Never underestimate the power of handheld equipment.

String trimmers, edgers, leaf blowers and other handheld power tools are powerful enough to propel rocks and other debris at speeds that could kill. Follow the same safety precautions as advised for your mowers.

  1. Blind spots.

Even the most alert outdoor power equipment operators may have difficulty with blind spots. When using a riding mower, it’s particularly difficult to spot animals and children who may venture too close to the mower.

“When you’re concentrating on grooming your yard well, it’s easy to be unaware of what’s happening around you,” Linderman said.

How to avoid injuries from blind spot accidents:  

  • Slow down and take care when mowing around corners, trees, shrubbery or other obstacles.
  • Avoid mowing in reverse whenever possible.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that each year, 20,000 Americans are injured on or near riding lawn mowers. Most youth fatalities related to outdoor power equipment occurred when a child was in the path of a moving mower.

“If it’s necessary to back up, then slow down and thoroughly check the immediate vicinity before moving further,” Linderman said. “Children and pets move fast. Don’t assume that they’ll remain in the same places you last saw them.”

  1. Carbon monoxide poisoning.

Gasoline-powered engines produce carbon monoxide (CO) in concentrations high enough to cause illness or even death to people and pets if the equipment is operated in a poorly-ventilated area.

“Never operate equipment inside, even for a short time,” Linderman said.

  1. Powered off doesn’t mean the danger is off.

Before repairing or adjusting equipment, study the owner’s manual for model-specific instructions. After turning off the equipment, wait until the equipment has cooled entirely before attempting to do any work or maintenance.

“Remember this when you’re doing regular maintenance,” Linderman said. “Check the oil level and re-fuel the engine only when the engine is completely cool. Gasoline spills on a hot engine could result in an instant fire.”

  1. Using them as toys.

Lawn mowers and outdoor power equipment are powerful tools. Though many people enjoy the experience of operating them, they should not be used for entertainment purposes.

“Children and teenagers are attracted to outdoor power equipment,” Linderman said. “Never allow a child to operate these tools. Though sitting on a riding mower may appear to be harmless fun, remember that such situations have ended tragically many times.”

RepairClinic.com stocks more than one million parts and accessories for 160 brands of lawn mowers, small engines, string trimmers and other handheld outdoor power equipment, furnaces, air conditioners, air washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, water heaters and many other products.

RepairClinic’s free troubleshooting and repair help system empowers do-it-yourselfers to fix common problems associated with outdoor power equipment, home appliances and HVAC equipment. DIYers can enter a model number to choose from a list of common symptoms for that particular model, troubleshoot and watch expertly-produced videos to learn the most likely causes and conditions and purchase the correct part.

RepairClinic orders are backed by a 365 Days. Period.® return policy that enables customers to return any part. Of the more than one million parts available on the website, 95 percent of parts ordered are in stock and guaranteed to ship the same business day. RepairClinic ships within the United States, U.S. territories and military bases and Canada.

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RepairClinic.com® makes fixing things easy for millions of people. Founded in 1999, it’s North America’s popular, trusted online store with replacement parts for outdoor power equipment, major household appliances and heating and cooling equipment. Free repair resources including more than 1,200 how-to videos empower people to fix stuff on their own. One million parts for 160 brands are stocked at its 86,000-square-foot facility in Canton, Michigan. Do-it-yourselfers also appreciate its generous, no-hassle 365 Days. Period.® return policy. In-stock parts are guaranteed to ship the same business day. Visit RepairClinic.com for more information. Contact Jody Lamb at JLamb [at] RepairClinic.com for more information.

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