What Safety Equipment Do I Need for a Lawn Care Business?
When you start a lawn care business safety equipment is not something we think about a lot but we need to remember if something happens to you your business will stop. The longer you are off, the harder it is for your business to recover. The right protection will reduce the odds of this happening to you.
What safety equipment do I need for a lawn mowing business?
You will need to have the following –
- Earmuffs – 90db plus.
- Safety glasses – shatterproof.
- Work boots – Steel caps.
- A first aid kit.
Optional items –
- A Cap.
- Sock Protectors – To prevent gravel, grass, or debris from getting into your boots
When you purchase your safety equipment, you will need to get the right protection. You may see shelves of earmuffs and racks of safety glasses, but not all of them are suitable for mowing lawns or working outside. Wearing the wrong protection can damage your health.
The best kind of earmuffs and safety glasses?
The noise level on a lawnmower is over 90 Decibels. To give you an idea of the level of normal noise speech is around 60 dB and a plane taking off is approximately 130 dB. Anything over 80 dB can damage your hearing over time.
Some earmuffs are marked with an (NRR) rating instead of a maximum DB rating. Please note that that is a noise reduction rating, not a maximum decibel rating. For example, the earmuffs below are rated at an (NRR) of 31DB which would reduce the lawnmower noise you hear from 90db to 59db. That is just below what you would hear when talking.
I have been using these earmuffs for years, and I find them comfortable, and they take a lot of knocking around.
3M Peltor X-Series Over-the-Head Earmuffs
When looking at safety glasses, You don’t want clear as they won’t protect your eyes from glare. I don’t like getting them too dark either as this can make it a little hard to see if you are out working on a wet or foggy day. I would also recommend getting glasses with UV protection. When working outdoors, UV rays can damage your eyes. Picking a pair of safety glasses is better done from a brick-and-mortar shop so you can see what shade lens suits you.
What to look for in a good pair of work boots.
When it comes to choosing work boots, I have a few things I consider.
Steel caps – This goes without saying and is compulsory in most places. You are going to have your toes near a blade spinning at around 3000 rpm for most of the day, so steel caps are a no-brainer.
Ankle support – You need boots, not shoes. Sometimes on a job, you will accidentally step into a hole (possibly dug by a human or a dog) that you didn’t see. If the lawn is overgrown and you are doing a “clean up” you might not even know it’s there. If you are wearing shoes, then you could damage your ankle. Boots reduce the chances of this happening.
No laces – This is a personal choice. The slip-on boots are a lot easier to put on or remove. Another good thing is you don’t get that build-up of old grass covering your laces.
As little stitching as possible on the front of the boot – Another personal choice but for a good reason. I have found that stitching gets eroded by the acid in the freshly cut grass. That means if you have a lot of stitching over the toes and in the middle of your work boot, these could be the first place it could go. If you want your boot to last longer, I would recommend choosing a boot similar to the one here.
You need a good pair of steel-capped workbooks with minimum stitching.
Other recommended gear
A peaked cap– This is not compulsory but highly recommended. Not only can you put your company logo on the cap it will also help in a couple of other ways. It will help protect your eyes and the top of your head from direct sunlight. Another thing is hitting your head on a clothesline, or an open window hurts (and bleeds) a lot less when you are wearing a cap. In fact, at the time of writing this, I had a nice bump on my head from a run-in with a low tree branch while I was working yesterday. If I hadn’t been wearing a cap, it would have been a lot worse.
Sunblock – Is a must. The sun can damage your skin. You may not be worried about this now, but this will change when you get your first melanoma cut out. Melanoma is a form of skin cancer. It is the most dangerous sort of skin cancer and it grows on skin cells that are damaged by ultraviolet rays found in sunshine.
A first aid kit – This is just a basic first aid kit for small injuries. You can find these in safety shops. They usually call them vehicle first aid kits. Also, check your local employment laws if you have a sidekick as you may have minimum standards for the first aid kit you need.
Gloves – Again a personal choice. If you mow lawns without gloves, your hands will look terrible. Before I started wearing gloves, my hands got so bad that they never looked clean. Even after a three-day weekend I still had green nail tips. I don’t buy expensive gloves I buy cheap sets for a couple of bucks, and I throw them away as soon as they get holes.
Sock protectors – These are great if you don’t like getting rubbish in your boots. There is nothing more annoying than working with something rolling around in your work boot. Sock protectors will eliminate that issue. They usually have an elastic band and slip-on above your boots which stops rubbish from getting in the crack between your sock and the workbook.
Don’t overdo the ear protection.
A couple of things you should take note of with earmuffs. Don’t double up with your hearing protection. Earplugs and earmuffs. You need to be aware of what’s going on around you. If someone walks up behind you or your mower starts making an unusual noise you need to hear that.
Don’t drive with your earmuffs on. Even if the next job is only a couple of streets away, this is a bad idea. You need to hear what’s going around while driving. I would also guess this is illegal in most places.
Don’t wear earphones with loud music playing for the same reason. It may help get you “in the zone” to work, but it is dangerous. If you do want to listen to something, try audiobooks or podcasts. The spoken word is much quieter, and you will hear things going on around you.
Here are some basic safety tips that will help.
Buy backup safety gear. Get a couple of sets of earmuffs and safety glasses. That way if you lose a pair you can grab your backup ones and carry on.
Don’t weed eat without safety glasses – I have met someone who has lost an eye using a line trimmer. You can’t weed eat without looking at what you are working on, and things are going to hit your glasses from time to time.
Don’t pull a mower backward – I have also mowed a lawn for a customer who lost some toes pulling a mower backward and they slipped.
Do not stick your hand in the mower shoot to clear it if it blocks. Turn the lawnmower off first and wait for the blade to stop spinning first. I know this is a pain, and it’s going to make the job take longer but believe me losing a finger is a lot more painful.
Lastly, If you hear a strange noise coming from your lawnmower or it starts vibrating do not carry on. Unplug the spark plug before you touch anything. Then you can try to locate the problem. A loose blade can cause these symptoms.
Why not become the most educated lawn guy in town?
As I said earlier in this blog, the spoken word is much quieter than music while you work so why not take advantage of this? I used to average fifty non-fiction audiobooks a year when I worked full-time. Nowadays I tend to subscribe to podcasts about things I am currently studying. I learned most of what I needed to know to launch my second business through audiobooks and podcasts. You can get a free education this way so why not do it while mowing lawns?
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