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12 Safety Tips Every User of Outdoor Power Equipment Should Remember

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Safety should always be a priority when you're working with outdoor power equipment, such as mowers, trimmers, chainsaws, edgers, snow blowers and more. You're already likely aware of the proper PPE you should be wearing when working with certain equipment and basic hazards to watch out for, but there's a lot more to consider when it comes to keeping both yourself and the machinery you're working with safe. With that said, here's a look at 12 safety tips that anyone who uses outdoor power equipment should keep in mind:

Chainsaw Tips

  • Don't work alone: Proper communication and supervision are key when working with chainsaws, especially on tree trimming and removal. Working with a colleague can help prevent accidents and ensure safe job conditions.

  • Up to standards: A chainsaw is only as good as the condition it's in. Don't use a chainsaw before ensuring it's up to the latest standards and works as it should.

  • Be wary of dead or decayed trees: Dead and decaying trees are particularly hazardous because limbs can fall unexpectedly and cause injury. Take note of any areas of concern and address those accordingly before beginning a job.

  • Don't overdo it: Chainsaw injuries commonly occur because the user is fatigued. Regular chainsaw users should also be aware of the symptoms of vibration white finger or Raynaud's disease. Taking regular breaks can help prevent the onset of both.

Mower Tips

  • Mount/dismount properly: It can be natural to disregard certain safety procedures on riding mowers, such as mounting and dismounting properly. Always mount/dismount from the left side of the mower, and be sure to use the step plate when doing so.

  • Use the right front mower ballast: The right front ballast is essential when bagging for helping to balance out the weight of the mower and ensure the job can be performed in a fast, efficient manner.

  • Be careful around slopes and edges: Carelessly cutting in these areas can potentially lead to an overturned mower. Be sure to slow down and use extra caution on hills, slopes and edges.

Winterization Tips

  • Lube, drain and maintain: When you're ready to store outdoor equipment for the winter, always lube it, drain it of fuel (or remove batteries in battery-powered tools) and give it a good cleaning before storing for the cold weather months.

  • Store equipment in a cool, dry area: You may even consider covering it with a tarp for an extra layer of protection.

  • Remove the battery: Prior to storing - in addition to cleaning - remove the spark plugs and battery.

Fuel Tips

  • Look for DOT-approved gas cans: DOT-approval is required by OSHA standards, and helps ensure that fuel cans are safe, effective and quality made. Additionally, consider purchasing metal cans with flame arrestors, which help prevent sparks from traveling up the nozzle.

  • Fill, move and store properly: Don't fill a gas can to capacity. In fact, try to make sure it's only about 90 to 95 percent full. When transporting gas cans, always make a point to secure it in the vehicle to prevent spilling. When on site, store gas in designated flammable cabinets away from sources of ignition. Ensure that gas is kept stored around room temperature.