Spring is here, and as we get our lawn mowers and other outdoor power equipment out from storage to work in our yards, businesses, and other green spaces, it’s important to keep safety in mind.

Here are safety tips for readying and using your outdoor power equipment:*

1Know not all lawn mowers are the same.

Whether your mower is a garden tractor, zero turn mower, or other, it has a unique design, requirements, weight classification, and other differences that impact how to use it safely. The newest machines have the latest safety standards.

2Know your specific machine.

Many mowers may look similar, but the technology is ever-evolving with advanced safety systems. They vary in design, power supply, performance, operating parameters, and more. Your manufacturer-supplied owner’s manual will guide you in these differences. Read your owner’s manual.

3When using mowers on slopes, follow the manufacturer’s guidance to the letter.

4Do not disable or alter manufacturer-installed safety equipment.

5Walk your yard before mowing.

Slopes, wet grass, and weather may impact equipment performance, as well as safe handling procedures. Pick up sticks and limbs that may have fallen to the ground over the winter and any loose objects that a mower could hit. Inspect trees for damaged limbs that may get in your way when mowing.

6Look over equipment before use.

Check the air filter, oil level, and gasoline tank. Watch for loose belts and missing or damaged parts. Replace any parts needed or take your equipment to a qualified service representative.

7Protect your power.

Use only E10 or less fuel in gasoline-powered outdoor power equipment if it is not designed for higher ethanol blends. Add a fuel stabilizer if you don’t use up all the fuel in the tank right away. Burn off any fuel before storing the mower for more than 30 days. For battery-powered equipment, only use battery packs specified by the manufacturer. Follow all charging instructions as outlined in the owner’s manual. Be sure to store fuel and batteries safely. Keep batteries away from other metal objects, store them in a climate controlled area, and never stack batteries.

8Keep children and pets away from machines during operation.

 Keep your mower clean. It will run more efficiently and last longer. Always remove dirt, oil, or grass before using and storing. Store equipment in a dry place, avoiding damp or wet environments.

For information on safe fueling, go to www.LookBeforeYouPump.com

For more safety information, visit www.opei.org Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), an international trade association representing outdoor power equipment, small engine, utility vehicle, golf car, and personal transport vehicle manufacturers and suppliers.