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Hand Safety: Watch out for that lawnmower

May 23, 2012
KEYWORDS blade / children / hand / injuries / mower
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Hand safety while lawnmowingEach year, more than 74,000 small children, adolescents and adults are injured by rotary, hand and riding power mowers due to improper handling. The American Society for Surgery of the Hand offers this information to help you avoid these injuries.

Kinetic energy (motion) imparted by a standard rotary blade is comparable to the energy generated by dropping a 21-pound weight from a height of 100 feet or is equal to three times the muzzle energy of a .357 Magnum pistol. Blade speed can eject a piece of wire or an object at speeds up to 100 miles per hour.

Who gets hurt?
Adults 25-64 years
Children under age five
22% involve wrist, hand or finger
14% involve foot, ankle or toes
25% of all hand and foot injuries result in amputation
Deaths occurred in children under six years of age.

Types of injuries
Direct contact with rotating or jammed blade
Serious tearing / separating injuries to soft tissue and bones
Gross contamination from contact with grass and soil harboring pathogens
Injuries requiring multiple staged surgeries to cleanse wounds and provide soft tissue coverage (to regenerate healthy tissue/skin

Common weather conditions
Wet grass
Damp ground

Other injury causes
Operator attempts to unclog blades with hand or foot
Passengers on riding movers or in cart towed behind mower
Mower being pulled backward
Sloping lawn mowed by power mower up and down slope, instead of across
Sloping lawn mowed by riding mower across slope, instead of up and down
Wearing sandals or open-toed shoes

Mowers are safe if…
Read your mower’s instruction manual prior to use
Do not remove safety devices or guards on switches
Never insert hands or feet into the mower to remove grass or debris. Even with mower turned off, the blade remains engaged.
Always use a stick or broom handle to remove any obstructions
Never cut grass when it is wet or when ground is damp
Never allow children to operate a mower or to be in the area when you’re mowing
Never allow passengers, other than the operator, on riding mowers
Keep your mower in good condition with sharp blade
Do not drink alcoholic beverages before or while using your mower
Wear protective boots, goggles, gloves, and long pants
Don’t operate a mower in your bare feet
Be cautious and focused when mowing hills or slopes

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