Here are some top safety tips for using your petrol hedge trimmer to make sure that you, and they, remain safe.
1. However tempting it is to get started, always read the handbook first.
2. Remember the Petrol is highly flammable. Always store fuel for all your power tools in an approved container in a locked shed or garage until required for use. Never smoke when filling your Trimmer with fuel, always make sure the engine is cold before refuelling. Refuelling a hot engine could cause a fire.
3. If you have a pacemaker consult the handbook that came with your machine. The ignition system may produce a weak electromagnetic field which can interfere with some pacemakers. If you are in any doubt, consult your doctor.
4. Make sure you remove any obstacles or trip hazards along the line you will be cutting before you start.
5. Make sure that children and animals are indoors or well away from the area where you are working.
6. Always hold the hedge trimmer correctly and always use both hands.
7. If you have to remove jammed twigs or foliage from the blades, switch the engine OFF first.
8. Make sure you always wear a set of safety goggles when using power tools. These are a vital piece of equipment, flying cuttings with thorns could lose you your sight – do not risk it.
9. Wear ear protection. Petrol hedge trimmers are noisier than their electric counterparts, ear defenders will protect your hearing.
10. If you have long hair, tie it back safely and neatly.
11. Wear suitable clothing, do not have anything trailing like a belt or a scarf that could possibly get caught in the blades. However improbable it sounds, there is sure to be a casualty department somewhere with someone who has got caught up in this way!
12. Wear safety shoes or boots, don’t be tempted to wear sandals on a summer’s day.
13. Look for a model with a safety hand guard. This will protect your hands from falling cuttings and, more importantly, from the blades. Wear safety gloves.
14. Ideally, you should not use any power tool above shoulder height and you should use a sturdy step-ladder or platform to stand on. If you have to use an ordinary ladder to reach the height you want to achieve, firmly fix a plank of wood at right angles to the ladder, just below the top. This will enable you to lean the ladder against the hedge safely, with no prospect of the ladder falling forward through the hedge.
15. If it is impossible to avoid working above your head in your particular garden, look for double position model that will give you an extended reach. The handle can be adjusted so that it is at right angles to the blades to ensure a level cut on the top of a hedge that would otherwise be out of reach. A model specifically designed for cutting these hard to reach areas is known as a telescopic, long reach, or pole hedge trimmer.