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Beware electric hedge clippers…

Crofton home owners are busily grooming their yards, and you’ll see us throughout the neighborhood on summertime weekends. We tend to be educated people who know to “Beware of power tools,” but accidents can and do happen.

Trimming the BushesAccording to a 2004 Consumer Reports article, nearly 4,000 trimmer related injuries involved lacerated fingers. I couldn’t find more recent stats, but suffice it to say that I became a participant for the next set of statistics when someone updates that article again. Fortunately, I didn’t lose my finger, but there’s a lot of blood and pain when that happens, and my finger looks pretty darn ugly a week into recovery.

Even though you probably already know and practice these safety tips from that same Consumer Reports article, it can’t hurt to share these reminders with you:

1. Never use electric trimmers in the rain, on wet grass or shrubs, or near water.
2. Use an undamaged extension cord rated for outdoor use, and plug it into an outlet with a ground fault circuit interrupter (or use a GFCI-equipped cord).
3. Keep cords safely looped behind you.
4. Wear safety goggles, ear protection, work gloves, nonslip shoes, and clothing that won’t get caught in the blades.
5. Don’t overreach, especially on a ladder.
6. Keep both hands on the trimmer, and fingers and other parts of your body away from the blades when trimming.
7. Turn off the power and wait for the blades to stop before adding fuel or removing debris.

My accident happened so quickly that I don’t know exactly what happened, but obviously I failed to keep both hands on the trimmer (#6).

Let me add one more suggestion, in case you ever do have an accident like this: Call 911. The EMT performed initial triage, so I arrived at the Emergency Room with the bleeding controlled and the pieces more or less held together by sterile gauze. The inevitable wait to see a doctor was much less frustrating and stressful than it would have been if someone else had taken me.

No matter how many times you’ve safely used electric tools in the past, remember that’s no guarantee against an accident in the future. Take care!


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