Friday 17 April 2015


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The use of garden machinery can be hazardous and result in injury.  Whilst it is the duty of employers to take reasonable care for the health and safety of their employees this does not apply outside the work environment.  

Ensure that you protect yourself whilst operating machinery by carrying out grass cutting safely. Safe operating procedures for the use of pedestrian mowers are detailed below.

  • Familiarise yourself with the operator’s manual for your mower and know how to stop the machine quickly in an emergency. 
  • Wear suitable clothing (Personal protective equipment) whilst operating the machinery. This should include non-snag clothing, safety boots with non-slip soles and ear protection. Long trousers should be worn to prevent injury caused by objects discharged from the machine. 
  • Ensure the machine is maintained and serviced regularly, as detailed in the operator’s manual. When maintaining or cleaning machines, turn it off and remove the spark plug to prevent accidental starting.
  • Before using your mower carry out some pre-use checks:

    • Check that all guards are in place, drive belts are adjusted correctly and all grease points are greased. 
    • Ensure the oil level and fuel levels are correct and there are no leaks. 
    • Check electric cables for damage and use a RCD at plug source.
    • Check the operation of the clutch and the emergency stop works. 
    • Check the blades are not damaged, excessively worn and are adjusted correctly.
    • Clean any grass from the machine, especially around the exhaust manifold and cooling fins. 
    • If box mowing ensure the grass bag is fitted and if fly cutting ensure the correct deflector is fitted in the correct position. 
    • Fuels, oils and greases must be handled carefully. If you have a petrol mower then take additional precautions. Never smoke or handle ignition sources whilst fuelling. Make sure correct fuel type is used and correctly mixed with two-stroke oil where applicable. Switch the machine off and allow it to cool before adding fuel in a well-ventilated area. Be careful and use a funnel (if required) when filling to prevent spills. Wipe off any small spillages and use a spill kit for larger spills.
  • If you are using electric mowers then ensure that you have adequate cable for the job.  Do not over extend the cable or link extension wires together. Find a suitable length extension cable fitted with a RCD.  Take care to ensure the cable is kept away from the mower blades at all times to avoid risk of electrocution.
  • Before commencing mowing check the grass for any objects that may be discharged by or cause damage to the blades. Look out for trip hazards and ensure the ground conditions are suitable i.e. not too wet, uneven or too steep for the machine. 
  • Do not operate the machine on slopes greater than the maximum angle as detailed in the operator’s manual. Be sure of footing. Great care must be taken when turning on slopes.
  • The height of the cut should be adjusted and the machine should be started and operated as detailed in the operator’s manual. 
  • If collecting the grass cuttings in the grass box (box mowing) then learn to recognise when the grass bag/box is full. Remove and empty the grass bag/box when required by the method as detailed in the operator’s manual. Check the bag/box for damage each time you empty it and replace it if necessary. Do not operate the machine with a damaged bag/box.
  • In areas of heavy growth that require box mowing it may be necessary to cut the area first without the bag attached at a high setting. Once the grass is dry the area can be cut again with the bag attached at the same height setting. The height of cut can then be reduced for a final cut to the correct height.
  • If you hear unusual noises from the machine, stop the engine immediately and investigate the noise Do not operate the machine until the repair has taken place and the defect is remedied.

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