Health and Safety Dangers from Lawnmowers
One of the first signs that summer has arrived is the sound of lawnmowers firing up in gardens across the land. The warmth of spring wakes grass from its dormant winter state into actively growing once again, which means that it soon requires lawnmowers to be dusted down and used to cut it back to an acceptable length. But these lawnmowers can pose dangers to the health and safety of those who operate them.
The blade will be the most obvious risk to health. Anything which is designed to cut something will also usually make little work in cutting through soft human flesh. The extremely high speed in which a lawnmower blade or blades rotate and their sharpness means that not only can they pose a risk when they are stationary, but when they are rotating they will cause a serious injury if a person comes into contact with them.
Whilst there are some lawnmower models which are powered solely by manual effort, the vast majority are powered either by petrol or by electricity, with both of these versions having risks to health and safety associated with their power supplies.
Petrol is extremely flammable and could lead to a fire or an explosion if it is not stored correctly or it were to come into contact with a spark or other source of ignition. The exhaust of a petrol mower is likely to get hot and cause burns if a person's skin were to come into contact with it such as their hand or their leg, as well as the inhalation of harmful fumes which are expelled into the air.
Electricity carries the risk of electrocution if the machine has faulty or damaged wiring or comes into contact with water. This is particularly likely for lawnmowers as they are often roughly moved about and are always used outside (obviously). The cable can be damaged as it moves across rough stone terrain, is pulled tight, takes the weight of the mower when it is stored in the shed and the mower is placed on top of the cable squashing it etc. As for water, there may be a sudden downpour of rain which can cause a spark either from the mower or from an extension reel.
A lawnmower's engine, motor and rotating blades can all be extremely loud and noisy. Exposure to this noise can damage the hearing of the person using the mower and possibly that of those nearby as well. Many recreational gardeners are likely to feel the risks are small enough to not bother with ear protection, but those who use lawnmowers regularly as part of their job such as groundskeepers or roadside maintenance people should use ear defenders as the cumulative effects, not to mention the likelihood of their machinery being bigger and louder, contribute to the risks to their hearing from noise damage being much greater.
Cutting grass can also cause those with hay fever to suffer symptoms and may affect their ability to operate the lawnmower safely if for example their eyes are watering so much that they cannot clearly see any objects in the path of the mower.