view of man's sneakers as he mows the lawn
Photo: Anthony Redpath/Masterfile
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Roger Cook's Safety Tips

Wisdom on avoiding injuries, from the TOH landscape contractor:

1. Cut when the grass is dry. You can slip on wet grass, and the blade can't cut or mulch it well.

2. Stay off hills. Mowers shouldn't be operated on slopes of more than 15 degrees—a rise of 1 foot in every 4. On shallow grades, mow across the slope. Mowing up and down hills invites an injury if you slip.

3. Protect eyes and ears. Don't take a chance that something will rocket out and hit you. Safety goggles are a must. And when using a gas mower, so is ear protection.

4. Mind the plug. Always take off the spark plug wire before working under the deck of a gas mower.

Tip: Pushing a rotary mower over flat terrain for an hour burns about 374 calories. Switching on the self-propelled option reduces the effort to 306 calories. Push-reel mowers deliver the best workout: 408 calories per hour.
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