While working around the house can be very rewarding, hundreds of thousands of injuries occur each year as a result of mishaps related to electric lawn mowers, power saws and other electric tools.
To avoid paying a visit to the emergency room this spring, observe these basic safety guidelines from Underwriters Laboratories:
Electric lawn mowers
• Electrically powered lawn mowers should not be used on wet grass.
• Use an extension cord designed for outdoor use and rated for the power needs of your mower. To reduce the risk of cutting the cord while you’re mowing, start mowing in the area nearest the electrical outlet, then mow away from the outlet so the power cord will be behind you.
• Make sure the switch is in the “OFF” position before plugging in a power saw.
• While operating the saw, keep the cord away from the cutting area and position it so that it will not be caught on the work piece.
• Keep children away from the work area at all times. Never allow them to operate power saws.
• If you need to use an extension cord with your saw make sure it is in good condition and make sure it’s heavy enough to carry the current your product will draw.
• Turn off motor, make sure saw blade has stopped and unplug product before cleaning around the saw.
Lawn and garden tools
• Before each use, inspect power tools and electric garden appliances for frayed power cords and cracked or broken casings. If the product is damaged, don’t use it or attempt to repair it yourself. Return the product or have a qualified repair shop examine it.
• Pay attention to warning markings. Don’t allow tools to get wet unless they are labeled “immersible.” When using tools outside, make sure they are appropriate for outdoor use.
• Never alter a product or remove safety features such as blade guards or electric plug grounding pins.
• Use only properly rated outdoor extension cords with outdoor electrical tools. Check the switch on a power tool or garden appliance to make sure it’s “OFF” before you plug it in.
• Unplug all portable electrically operated power tools when not in use. These tools contain electricity even when turned “OFF” but still plugged in.
• Use and store power tools and garden appliances away from water sources to avoid electric shock. Never use power tools and appliances in the rain.
• Have a qualified technician install ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) receptacles in all outdoor outlets. After installation, test your GFCIs monthly.
• Never carry an appliance by the cord, and never yank the cord when removing it from a receptacle. When disconnecting the cord, always grasp the plug — not the wire. Keep the cord away from heat, oil and sharp edges.
Source: Underwriters Laboratories