1. Make sure you are completely familiar with the equipment you will be using before you start working with it, make sure that you have familiarised yourself with all the controls, where they are and what they are used for. All this information is in the operator’s manual PLEASE take time to read it!
Tip: – If you buy a machine second-hand and it does not come with a manual, you can often download this from the internet. Take the make and model number from the markings on the machine, type these into the search engine browser and you will almost always find some helpful information.
2. Make sure whenever you are working with petrol tools that you wear the correct clothing, don’t be tempted to wear shorts on a hot day. Always wear long trousers, clothes that are close fitting and have no loose belt or anything that could get caught in the machinery. Never wear open-toe sandals, always wear proper safety shoes. Wear a good sturdy pair of gloves to protect your hands. Wear eye protection even if you normally wear glasses use safety goggles on top. Wear a safety helmet. Ear defenders are vital when working with petrol-driven machinery. Never wear any loose jewellery and make sure long hair is safely tied back.
3. Make sure that you store fuel in a purpose-made container and keep it locked away in a cool, dry place between uses. When filling the tank of your machine, fill up before starting and if you need to refill during the course of the job, make sure you allow the engine to cool before doing so. A naked flame and petrol are a lethal combination so never smoke when working with a petrol machine and definitely not when filling it.
4. Never be tempted to modify a tool by removing a safety blade or hand guard.
5. If your trimmer is struggling to cut through a twig or branch that is too thick, don’t try to force the blades through the wood. Stop and use a manual lopper instead. Your trimmer will last you longer and you will not risk possible injury if the blades jam or slip. No hedge trimmer is designed to be used as a chain saw, don’t treat it like one!
6. If you cannot reach part of your hedge safely and maintain proper footing to cut it, don’t try. Get a ladder and secure it properly or use a cutting platform. Alternatively, use a long reach hedge trimmer or one with articulating blades for those hard to reach areas.
7. Never operate petrol driven machinery if you are tired, taking any prescription medicine that may make you feel drowsy or if you have had an alcoholic drink.
8. Keep your machine properly maintained – wipe the blades and the outside of the engine before storing it away between uses and use this wipe-over to visually inspect your machine for any damage to the blades or guard that might require attention. Make sure you also keep the handle of the machine clean and free from any grease or oil to avoid slipping your grip with the machine in use. Follow the directions in your manual to ensure you keep the machine properly lubricated and pay proper attention to the instructions for draining down the fuel before winter or any period of storage longer than a month. Changing fuel filter and spark plug is usually a very simple operation – again, the instructions should be in your manual or a local dealer who stocks the parts will be able to assist you.
9. Between uses, store your machinery in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight with the blade guard in place.