Hedge Trimmer Safety
How to Be Safe While Working With a Hedge Trimmer
Hedge trimmers make grueling landscape jobs almost effortless.
However, while they're quite simple to operate, they can do serious damage in the wrong hands.
It's extremely important to put safety first whenever operating a hedge trimmer.
Make sure to take the necessary precautions, and you'll be able to have beautiful shrubs that you can enjoy.
Before You Begin
You want a clean and clear workspace first and foremost, because you don't want to be cutting into anything other than shrubs.
Clear your work area of any of the items most commonly left in the yard:
- Lawn debris
- Garden hoses
- Children's toys
- Lawn décor
Clean dead or loose branches out of the shrubs you'll be trimming. This allows you a better view of the shrub itself and prevents dead or broken branches from getting in the way of the cutting blade.
Once you've finished clearing your trimming area, ensure no pets or children are around.
Get Suited Up
Wear safety gear whenever operating power equipment, including hedge trimmers.
Hedge trimmer operators should wear the most common pieces of personal protective equipment, or PPE:
- Safety glasses
- Hearing protection
- Closed-toe shoes or boots (non-slip)
- Long pants or chaps
- Long sleeves
- Work gloves
Do not wear loose-fitting clothing, as it could become caught in the blade and cause injury.
Debris moves fast when it comes off the blades, and falling sticks and limbs can wreak havoc on exposed skin. Be covered so you finish without a scratch.
In addition, be absolutely sure to keep your hands, legs, and feet away from the blades while in operation.
Start Your Engines!
Take safety precautions when starting your hedge trimmer. Place the trimmer on the ground and hold it tight with your left hand.
Use your free hand to start the hedge trimmer without lifting it from the ground. This will keep it steady and under control.
If your trimmer features a pull-start engine, do not wrap the starter cord around your hand. Just pull it by the handle as recommended in your user manual. If your trimmer is electric, battery-powered, or electric start, just hold it steady on the ground and start it up.
Keep Your Eyes Open
Make sure no one comes within 40 feet of you while the hedge trimmer is being used.
Since you cleared the area in advance, you should be clear to trim, but always keep an eye out for objects you might have missed:
- Electrical cables
They might be hiding just around the next branch. If you accidentally come into contact with anything like this, turn off the trimmer immediately.
Do not work from a ladder or stool. Keep your feet planted securely on the ground at all times. To reach the tops of large shrubs, consider investing in a string trimmer that's attachment capable and pairing it with a hedge trimmer attachment.
Cut with smooth, bottom-up motions, and don't extend the trimmer too far from your body or your balance will be compromised. Take your time, and stay focused, and you can have good looking shrubs without any mishaps.