7 Safety Tips To Follow Before Working In Your Yard
As the days are getting warmer and the sun stays out longer, you may be anxiously waiting to get outside and start working in your yard. It is understandable to be eager after a long winter. But remember to make safety a priority with some basic maintenance before digging in.
Here are some outdoor safety tips from OPEI (Outdoor Power Equipment Institute) to ensure that your equipment operates safely and gets the job done.
Get out the owner’s manual.
Follow all guidelines for outdoor power equipment and familiarize yourself with the controls. Misplaced manuals can usually be found online (and saved on your computer for future reference).
Check for loose belts and missing or damaged parts. Replace any parts needed or take equipment to a qualified service representative. Getting equipment serviced before the spring 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 can 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 the fuel safely and buy fresh fuel.
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.