Landscape Safety Series, Using String Trimmers Safely

  • Fluegel, Lance;
  • Rein, Bradley K.


  • Read the owner's manual carefully.
  • Wear proper protective clothing: eye protection, trim-fitting pants and shirt, sturdy shoes, and ear protection if using a gas-powered trimmer.
  • Check the machine for loose, broken, or damaged parts -- repair or replace as needed.
  • Be sure electric units are either double insulated or connected to a 3-prong grounded outlet.
  • Use a properly sized outdoor type extension cord for electric units. A 2-wire cord for double insulated units and a 3-wire cord for units that need to be grounded. Use of a ground fault interrupter (GFI) circuit provides added safety.
  • Do not use electrical powered units in damp or wet conditions.
  • Be sure the working area is free of hazards, which could hamper the use of the trimmer.
  • Trimmers can throw objects with force so keep children, bystanders, and pets from the working area.

  • Do not operate the trimmer near windows.
  • Keep the trimmer close but not touching the ground. Angle the unit slightly to the left to discharge trimmings away from your body.
  • Hold the trimmer firmly with both hands in a properly balanced stance.
  • Keep the hot engine and exhaust away from your body.
  • Use only monofilament string recommended by the manufacturer. Never use wire or metal reinforced string as broken pieces can become lethal missiles.
  • Do not use the trimmer for any purpose other than manufacturer's recommendations.
  • Never touch the string while in operation.
  • Do not operate gas powered units indoors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Stop the engine and disconnect spark plug wire before servicing. Disconnect the power cord on electric units.
  • Refuel only with engine stopped and cool.

  • Store the unit in an area where children or untrained personnel will not have access.

Publication #: 8 831-P

This document is apart of a series from 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, Tucson 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