Using Hedge Trimmers Safely

  • Fluegel, Lance;
  • Rein, Bradley K.


  • When buying a trimmer, select one with the cutting teeth and guards close enough together so that fingers can't fit between them.
  • Select a trimmer that has two handles, including a wide forward handle high above the cutting blades.
  • Select a trimmer that is lightweight and easy to handle.
  • Read the owner's manual to familiarize yourself with the machine and its use.
  • Check the trimmer carefully for loose screws, bolts, and damaged or broken parts. Replace parts or make necessary repairs before you use the trimmer.
  • Sharpen the blades if necessary.
  • If not double insulated be sure that you use a three-wire extension cord equipped with a three-prong plug. Be sure the outlet you use is the grounded type. Use an outlet with ground fault protection for maximum safety.
  • Be sure that young adults are properly instructed on use of the trimmer and they are physically and mentally mature enough to operate it. Never allow children to use the trimmer.
  • Clear the working area of children, pets, and other bystanders.
  • Inspect the shrubbery carefully for hidden wires, posts, or other trash.

  • Always wear long pants, long-sleeved shirt, gloves, eye protection, and ear protection.
  • Do not operate the trimmer above chest height.
  • If trimming taller shrubbery, stand on a stepladder or other firm support. Avoid the use of unstable support such as chairs or ladders.
  • Keep your hands and body away from the blades.
  • Keep the cord of electric models away from the trimmer to avoid damaging or cutting it.
  • Work slowly and deliberately. Plan your cuts before you make them.
  • Take an occasional rest break to avoid fatigue.
  • Stop the engine or unplug electric models before cleaning or adjusting.
  • Never leave the trimmer unattended, to prevent children playing with it.
  • Store the trimmer safely out of the reach of children.

Publication #: 8831-G

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

Lance Fluegel, Safety Coordinator, and Bradley Rein, Engineering Specialist, the College of Agriculture, 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