Fatal lawn mower-related accidents call to mind the important safety guidelines when it comes to using lawn mowers, both of the walk-behind and riding lawn mower type. At least how old must a person be before he or she could operate such machinery?
Recent Fatal Lawn Mower Accidents
This week, authorities reported of a fatal lawn mower-related accident in Trempealeau County. Evidently, 63-year-old Deanna Matchey was using her riding lawn mower on a hill when the machine rolled on top of her. It was a neighbor who discovered the scene of the accident and reported to authorities.
Similarly, just last April, another lawn mower-related incident resulted in a fatality. In this case, a young child, three years of age, was on the riding lawn mower with his father when he fell off and was then run over by the machine. Authorities reported that the child was pronounced dead at the scene.
Basic Lawn Mower Safety Guidelines
In light of these recent tragedies, the public is reminded of the basic safety precautions and guidelines surrounding regular machinery that could potentially be deadly if not used properly. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that there were 34,000 riding mower-related injuries each year between 2010 and 2012.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children must be at least 12 years old to operate a walk-behind lawn mower and 16 years old to operate the riding mower. But apart from making sure that people are of the right age to use the machinery, it’s very important to read the lawn mower’s manual, check the machine if all the protective guards and safety equipment are in the right place, wear proper clothing and perhaps even earplugs to protect the ears, and to be very aware and careful of the surroundings while operating the machine.
Young children must not be allowed to ride lawn mowers with the operator and it’s also important to make sure to use a proper lawn mower. Damaged lawn mowers must be repaired first before being used again.
Up And Down, Not Across
Apart from the thousands of injuries from lawn mowers, between 2007 and 2009, there was an average of 90 riding lawn mower-related deaths per year.
“Fatal incidents have several common patterns: the machine tips over, the victim falls under or is run over by the machine (incidents involving young children are in this category), or the victim is thrown from or falls off the machine,” states the CPSC.
To avoid such incidents from occurring, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s weight limit on the machine, to slow down when doing turns, and to mow up and down sloped areas, instead of across. It’s also imperative to remember that people who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs must not operate a lawnmower.
There are so many ways to prevent injury and death when it comes to using lawn mowers and it all begins with taking the time to review safety guidelines and following basic safe operating practices.