Outdoor Tools

Electric Garden Tools

  • Electric power tools should be grounded unless they are double insulated. Never carry a tool by its cord or yank the cord to disconnect it from the outlet. Extension cords for tools such as trimmers and edgers should be the heavy-duty, and rated for outdoor use. Unplug the power cord before you do any trouble-shooting on a tool that is jammed or won't start, and never walk away from a plugged-in-power tool - even for a few minutes.
  • Never work with electric power tools in wet or damp conditions.
  • Be sure that extension cords are in good condition, are rated for outdoor use, and are the proper gauge for the electrical current capacity of the tool.
  • Before making adjustments or clearing jams near moving parts, unplug electric tools Be sure that power tools are turned off and made inoperable if they must be left unattended.

Hand Tools

A few well-made, well-maintained tools are preferable to a lot of neglected ones. Keep your tools in good condition, with cutting edges clean and sharp. Keep points of shovels, spades, trowels, and forks smooth and correctly shaped. Tools with joints and rollers should be lubricated to work properly.

Garden tools such as rakes, hoes, spades, forks, pruning clippers, files, and metal plant stakes should not be left lying around when not in use. If you anticipate needing a tool momentarily, place it blade down against a wall or fence.

Use a tool only for the purpose its maker intended, applying only force that it was built to withstand.


  • Always use a ladder that is long enough for the job at hand. A great number of ladder mishaps are the result of using a ladder that is too short.
  • Don't carry equipment while climbing a ladder. Invest in a tool belt, or have someone hand the equipment to you.
  • Face the ladder when climbing up and down; keep your body centered between both side rails.
  • While up on the ladder, don't overextend your reach. Make sure you keep your weight evenly distributed.

Lawn & Garden Tools

  • When using garden appliances and power tools, always wear proper attire.
  • Keep your clothing, hands, and feet away from cutting blades at all time.
  • Never wear jewelry when working with tools.
  • Always wear safety glasses.
  • Pay attention to warning markings.
  • Don't allow tools to get wet unless they're labeled "immersible."
  • When using tools or extension cords outside, make sure they are appropriate for outdoor use.
  • Never alter a product or remove safety features, such as blade guards or electric grounding pins.
  • Check the switch on a power tool or garden appliance to make sure it's in the "OFF" position before you plug it in.

Safe Mowing Tips

Each year, about 75 people are killed and about 20,000 are injured on or near riding lawnmowers and garden tractors. One out of every five deaths involves a child. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that most of the deaths to children occurred when a child was in the path of a moving mower.

  1. Know how to operate the equipment - Read the operator's manual before using any power equipment. Know where the controls are and what they do. Follow safety instructions.
  2. Dress properly for the job - Wear long pants, close-fitting clothes, sturdy shoes, and safety glasses. Don't wear anything that could get caught in moving parts (loose jewelry or clothing; be careful of long hair).
  3. Handle gas carefully - Gasoline should be stored outside your home if possible, on a high shelf away from heat sources, in a labeled container approved for gas storage. To transport gasoline, place a sealed and approved container in the trunk of your car with the trunk lid propped open slightly and drive directly to your refueling site. Don't store gasoline containers in your vehicle. To refuel, take equipment outside and away from combustibles. Equipment should always be turned off and cool before you add fuel. Wipe up spills immediately and move the tool at least ten feet away from the fueling site before starting the engine. Never smoke when fueling or using gasoline-powered tools.
  4. Clear the area before you start - Pick up rocks, twigs, cans, golf balls, anything that could be thrown by mowing equipment.
  5. Keep children and pets away from the area until you're finished - Never allow children to operate a mower. And never carry children as passengers on a riding mower. Keep children indoors and supervised at all times when any outdoor power equipment is being used. Young children move quickly and are attracted to mowing activity. Never assume children will remain where you last saw them. Be alert and turn off the mower if children enter the mowing area. Use extra care when backing up or going around corners, shrubs, trees or other obstacles.
  6. Operate equipment carefully and follow recommended procedures - Always turn off the engine and disconnect the spark plug wire before attempting to unclog or work on outdoor power equipment. When leaving equipment unattended, turn off the engine and remove key. Power mowers are noisy; when you're mowing near the street, you may not hear oncoming cars. Use your peripheral vision, and never step into the street to turn the mower. Cut a couple of strips parallel to the street first, then begin your pattern
  7. Keep hands and feet away from moving parts - Never work on equipment while it is running. Never remove or tamper with safety devices and labels… they're provided to protect you and your family.