Safety First: Best Practices for Operating Outdoor Power Equipment

21 May 2024
Safety first: Best practices for operating outdoor power equipment

There is nothing more empowering than operating outdoor power tools when doing yard projects. The roar of the device and the strength you feel when blasting the litter away with a leaf blower, or fixing a fence with a power drill, is exhilarating. 

However, it’s easy to get carried away, chopping small trees with a chainsaw, riding on that fancy mower to cut the grass, or even power-washing the deck—that’s when accidents can happen. Just one second of distraction can result in injury or worse. 

Therefore, when it comes to safely operating these devices, big or small, taking the right precautions is paramount to your well-being.

Consider the Safety of Others

Before you start any outside work, be sure to let the other people in the household know what you are planning on doing. 

They can then assist in making sure that small children or pets are kept inside, or if they do venture outside, someone is with them to supervise and keep them at a safe distance. 

If your project involves cutting down large trees, communication with the other people around you can help keep them safe and avoid being crushed by falling trees and branches. 

When other people assist you with the project, let them know their roles and what needs to be done. This allows everyone to work simultaneously while keeping away from the person using a power tool unless necessary.

Use the Right Tool for the Job

Bigger isn’t always better. If the job doesn’t need a power tool, then you should not use it just because it looks cooler or seems like it could possibly be more efficient (just because it has a motor doesn’t mean it’s always more efficient!)

Knowing what you need ahead of time will help on the day of the job and keep you safe. You don’t need a chainsaw to trim a rose bush, for example, but you do need a STIHL concrete cutter to help take down a concrete wall.

Each power tool is carefully designed and created for a specific job, and the STIHL power tools are the choice for professionals. With durability, versatility, and power in a compact device, whatever the job requires, STIHL has a tool for it. Your authorized dealer has the know-how to make sure you get the right tool for the job and that you can safely operate it.

Tool Maintenance

Any tool being used needs to be in good working order. This will not only make the job easier and faster to complete but also ensure that the device is fully operational and without risk to the person using it.

Maintenance should be done at regular intervals. At the end of the season, the device should be properly winterized (if required) before storage. When the new season begins, flushing the fluids, cleaning the tool, and making sure that the battery is fully charged or that the gas is new, will allow you to operate it safely. 

This is particularly important for tools that have moving parts, such as chainsaws, hedge trimmers, and pruning saws. Even ride-on or battery-powered mowers have spinning blades or strings that need to be checked before use.

PPE (Personal Protection Equipment)

When people say you need PPE to do a job, you may think of the bright yellow hazmat suits you see on TV, with the large helmets, glasses, and oversized gloves. 

As entertaining as that might be, when it comes to yard work, residential or commercial, you do not need to go to that extreme. High-visibility vests, eye protection, gloves, good shoes, and ear protection can be all you need. 

The vests will allow people to see you, especially if you are working higher up in a tree while removing branches. Eye protection will keep flying debris such as sticks and stones away from your eyes while working at the project at hand.

Gloves protect your fingers and hands, while ear protection in the form of large headphones or small earbuds, will protect your hearing when operating loud equipment for extended periods of time. In regards to shoes, sturdy work boots are great; just avoid running shoes or shoes made from soft fabrics.

Don’t Remove the Safety Feature

Tools like cutting saws, trimmers, and even mowers have guards on the moving parts to protect the user. While these can feel like they are in the way, removing them will be instrumental in you getting injured. 

Safety features are there for a reason. You should be familiar with them and know how they work, but they should not be removed from the device. 

Understand Your Tools

Power tools can take a lot of strength to operate, and/or need precision to carry out the task.

This means you should be confident in operating the device and handling emergencies with a clear head. If you do not feel safe operating the tool, then don’t. Any uncertainty can make it hard to operate the tool, and may lead to injury. 

If it’s your first time using a tool, then contact the provider where you rented or purchased it from. As an authorized STIHL dealer, the staff can go over the tools and train you on proper use and safety features. This will build your confidence and allow you to carry out the work.

Call the Professionals

Peel Exterior Maintenance Inc. is your professional provider with the right tool for your project, big or small.

As an authorized STIHL dealer, you know that the tools you can rent or purchase from us are of the highest quality, and you can get the right training before you use them. We carry a wide range of power tools, and can maintain and or repair them if necessary.

With mowers for all sizes of yards, fuel and accessories, trimmers, cutters, and blowers, no matter the season, everything you need is all under one roof. 

Call us today at 1-888-455-7999 or go online and see how Peel Exterior Maintenance Inc. can serve both your residential jobs and larger commercial projects.