Getting Ready for Spring Yard Work: Safety Tips
The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), an international trade association representing more than 100 power equipment, engine and utility vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, reminds home owners to keep safety in mind when getting out their spring lawn and garden equipment like lawn mowers, edgers, trimmers and more.
“After a long winter, we know that everyone is eager to get outside and start working in their yards. But remember to make safety a priority,” said Kris Kiser, President and CEO. “Make sure you’re ‘backyard ready’ by doing some basic maintenance now when we are on the cusp of spring. This will ensure your equipment operates safely and gets the job done.”
A good time to assess outdoor power equipment needs is before you need it, adds Kiser. “Whether you need battery, gasoline, propane, diesel, robotic, or hybrid powered equipment, there is a product to fit your needs and that can handle any yard chore.”
Before you use a mower, trimmer, blower, chain saw, pruner or other piece of outdoor power equipment this season, OPEI reminds consumers to inspect their equipment, review owner’s manuals, and review safety procedures. Here are tips to help:
- Get out owner’s manuals. Follow all guidelines for outdoor power equipment and familiarize yourself with the controls. Misplaced manuals can be found online (and saved on your computer for future reference).
- Inspect equipment. Check for loose belts and missing or damaged parts. Replace any parts needed or take equipment to a qualified service representative. Repair shops are busy when spring arrives. Getting equipment serviced before the rush means you’ll be ready to get outside right away.
- Drain old fuel. Fuel should not sit in your equipment’s tank for more than 30 days. Untreated gasoline (without a fuel stabilizer) left in the system will deteriorate, which may cause starting or running problems and even damage to the fuel system. “Old” fuel should be drained and removed, and then newly-purchased fuel should be added.
- Only use E10 or less fuel. Some gas stations may offer 15 percent ethanol (E15) gas or higher ethanol fuel blends, but any fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol can damage—and is illegal to use—in small engine equipment not designed for it.
- Label fuel cans with the date of purchase and ethanol content of the fuel. Never put “old” gas in outdoor power equipment. If you don’t know the date of purchase, dispose safely of the fuel in the can and buy fresh fuel.
- Clean equipment. Remove dirt, oil or grass stuck to it. A clean machine will run more efficiently and last longer.
- Set expectations with your family and pets. It’s been a long winter for them too, and they may want to be outside while you are doing yard work. But while outdoor power equipment is in use, the safest place for kids and pets is inside your home and under the supervision of a responsible adult. Talk with your family about safety and remind them to follow procedures.