As a hedge trimmers can be highly dangerous pieces of equipment, it is important that users are well aware of the safety features that they will be required to use and that they are equipped with the relevant safety tips for ensuring that the possibility of accidents is kept to a minimum. The most common features that most trimmers come fully equipped with include:
- Hand guards: These are the shields that are usually fitted to the front and rear handles of the trimmer. They are designed to prevent the user’s hands from getting anywhere near the blades during operation.
- Throttle lock switch: This is a safety lock that is most often switched on when the hedge trimmer is being carried, as it prevents the machine from accidentally turning on.
- Anti-vibration protection: These are the insulating buffers fitted to the handles and engine mounts of the trimmer. They are designed to protect the user from being exposed to excessive vibration.
- Blade lock: This is a safety lever fitted to the rear handle that prevents the blades from moving when the engine is idling. This is especially useful for carrying the hedge trimmer around.
- Stop button: This is a safety switch that is able to stop the engine dead should you encounter any issues or problems during use. Not all machines are equipped with this feature, but it is highly useful.
There are a number of safety tips that everyone who operates a hedge trimmer should be well versed in, as they could mean the difference between a safe trimming experience and a visit to the emergency room. Some of the most helpful tips include:
- Avoid distractions: Never use a trimmer when there is the possibility of becoming distracted; make sure that children and pets are kept well clear (inside if possible) and that spectators are kept to a minimum.
- Safety gear: You should always wear the correct safety gear, including goggles or glasses, earplugs or muffs, thick work gloves, sturdy shoes and tight fitting clothing.
- Correct use: Wherever possible, you should keep your feet planted firmly on the ground. For tall hedges, it is recommended that you invest in a long reach trimmer instead of climbing ladders.
By making sure that you are familiar with each of the safety features that your hedge trimmer has been fitted with and that you understand the various tips that are designed for its safe use, you can go a long way towards lessening the chances of injury. On top of all the features and tips outlined above, you should ensure that you have read the manual and that your trimmer is well maintained.