Landscape Safety Series, Riding Mower Safely

  • Fluegel, Lance;
  • Rein, Bradley K.


  • Read or review the operator's manual to familiarize yourself with the mower and controls.
  • Make certain all safety devices are in place and operating. Be sure the mower is equipped with a working engine interlock and a "deadman" control.
  • Wear close-fitting clothes, sturdy non-slip safety shoes, eye protection and ear protection. (no bare feet, sandals, or sneakers)
  • Fill the fuel tank out of doors with the engine stopped and cool. Wipe off any spills. Do not smoke while filling.
  • Adjust the cutting height and check the condition of the blade. Be sure the engine is shut off. Sharpen the blade if necessary.
  • Disconnect the spark plug wire and wear heavy leather gloves to remove and/or replace the blades.
  • Never wear gloves while sharpening the blade on a power grinder as the gloves could be caught and pulled into the grinding wheel.
  • Pick up all debris in the lawn.
  • Keep children and pets out of the area. Never allow children to ride on the mower with you.
  • Do not allow children to operate the mower until you are sure they have the physical size and mental maturity to do so. Properly instruct them on safe operation at that time.

  • Be sure the mower and transmission are disengaged before starting the engine.
  • Start the engine out of doors to avoid buildup of dangerous fumes.
  • Drive the mower up and down gentle slopes for best stability. Back up moderate slopes. Avoid steep slopes completely.
  • Turn off the engine and wait for moving parts to stop before dismounting. Remove the key!
  • Slow down when turning sharply and on slopes to avoid tipping.
  • Always look behind you for small children, pets, or obstructions, before backing the mower.
  • Disconnect the spark plug wire before attempting to service, adjust, or repair the mower.
  • Keep the discharge chute pointed away from buildings, people, and animals.
  • Keep hands and feet away from all moving parts.

Publication #: 8831-L

This document is apart of a series from the the Cooperative Extension, the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85719. Publication date: May 1989.

Lance Fluegel, Safety Coordinator and Bradley Rein, Engineering Specialist, the College of Agriculture, the University of Arizona, AZ 85719.

Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More