Weed Wacker Injuries and Safe Use Safety Talk
Lawn care, whether it is done at work or at home, is a task that causes many injuries every single year. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 60,000 injuries are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year because of unsafe operation of power lawn mowers. A separate study by Center for Injury Sciences stated that an estimated 81,907 injuries involving a lawn trimmer, more commonly referred to as a weed wacker or weed eater, occurred from 2000-2009. These were just the injuries that were reported. Many more were treated in the home and not reported.
Weed Wacker Injury Study Findings
The study by Center for Injury Sciences focused specifically on injuries sustained from using a weed wacker. They found were that Caucasian males between 40 and 49 were the ones most likely to be injured. The most common area for injury occurred at the head and more specifically the eyes. Eye injuries accounted for 42.5% of all injuries. Contusions and abrasions were the most common type of injury to the head, but lacerations were the most common injury to the extremities, and strains/sprains were the most common injury to the trunk.
A weed wacker is designed to rotate a blade or string at high speeds which not only cuts the desired brush or grass, but also often throws stones and other objects at high rates of speed. These thrown objects can cause property damage incidents or injuries to bystanders. Evaluate your work area and task and take into account the possibility of these types of incidents occurring due to thrown objects.
Safeguards During Weed Wacker Operation
- Eliminate weed wacker activities where possible. Landscaping or using a weed killer can reduce the need to use a weed wacker.
- Ensure all safety devices on the weed wacker are in place and functioning correctly. Most weed wackers have some type of guard to deflect objects from being thrown back towards the operator. Also make sure any kill switches or safety switches work correctly.
- Read the owner’s manual to understand the specifics of the machine you are using.
- Remove any objects or people that could be struck by flying debris during weed clearing activities before beginning work. Stop when a car or person comes too close to your work area.
- Wear the proper PPE while using a weed wacker. Proper PPE includes: safety glasses, a face shield, long sleeve shirt, anti-vibration gloves, long pants, long socks, and safety toe boots that go around the ankle.
Do not take lawn care activities lightly when it comes to safety. Injuries occur every single day while using this equipment. As mentioned above, most reported injuries occur to the eyes. How would an injury to the eyes affect you and your ability to work?