As with any piece of sharp cutting equipment, there are safety precautions that need to be followed before and during the use of a push mower. Many precautions are best followed at all times, but there are certain extra safety measures, whether using a standard manual push reel mower, a gas-powered mower or an electric lawnmower.
Read all instructions in the owner’s manual before powering up and using any lawnmower. Most manuals will cite specific safety precautions to be followed for that lawnmower. Also, you should always inspect your lawn for any debris and foreign objects that may be a risk to you or your mower should you run across them while mowing.
Wearing the proper clothing is important. Wear shoes that aren’t going to slip on wet grass, or on loose grass clippings. Never wear sandals or mow barefoot. Right in line with this, it's important to keep extremities away from the blades of the mower, regardless of the type. Powered mowers might be more likely to inflict damage should a foot or hand come into contact with the blades while running, but manual mower blades are still very sharp and have the added hazard of being left largely uncovered.
Inspect your mower before starting to ensure that there are no readily apparent issues that can become worse for the mower, or become dangerous for you, once you start mowing.
Manual mowers are safer than powered ones, though there are a few things to observe. Most importantly, as mentioned before, the blades to a manual reel mower are always exposed and should be handled with care. Also, running with a manual mower or mowing over debris is more dangerous for the user than it's when done with powered mowers. Should you slip and fall, you have a greater risk of injury from landing on exposed blades. Likewise, those exposed blades have a greater risk of throwing the debris in a dangerous direction, while most powered mowers will control where debris goes.
Powered mowers are especially dangerous for kids and should not be operated by anyone under the age of 12. Hearing protection should always be worn, as gas mowers are noisy. Starting and refueling should always be done outdoors, as these put out harmful emissions. Also, refueling should be done with the engine off and cool.
Most importantly, if your mower becomes clogged or for any reason, you need to reach around your blades, remove the spark plug first. Otherwise, simply hand-turning the blades could result in a spark that will start your mower.
There are actually two types here: the battery-powered electric lawn mower and those powered by a cord from an outdoor power outlet. Both require some of the same safety tips, with a few extras for ones with power cords.
Never mow when it's wet or raining, as there is a danger of electrocution. Always use a grounded extension cord, and never use cords that are worn or frayed. Mow away from your power cord, and never leave your mower plugged in when you walk away.
Follow all these basic tips, and you’ll be fine. Just remember, in the end, the best lawn mower for the job is the one you feel you can operate comfortably and safely.