QLD: Don’t get sprung: power tools warning

Published: 
11 Sep 2015

With the arrival of spring, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is urging Queenslanders to play it safe with power tools and be aware of possible risks when using them outdoors.

Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said the warmer weather saw many Queenslanders eager to start outdoor projects and using power tools safely was paramount.

“It only takes a moment of distraction while operating a power tool to suffer an injury or worse,” Mr Bauer said.

“Homeowners generally do not consider garden maintenance as a hazardous task, yet there have been hundreds of injuries associated with home handy-man type projects.

“Owners and operators of power tools and equipment, such as mowers, chain saws and line trimmers, should read and understand the instruction manual and safety information before starting work. Even if you’ve read them before, it’s a good idea to refresh your memory if it’s been a while since you used that tool.

“Consumers should also check manufacturer’s websites for specific product recommendations and advice.

Eight fatalities have been attributed to ride-on lawnmower related incidents in Australia alone.

“Consumers also need to be mindful when buying second-hand power tools to ensure they come with the original safety instructions, or if not, that they can be found online,” Mr Bauer said.

Before firing up any tools or equipment, make sure you follow these safety tips:

  • Never allow young children to operate power tools or equipment. Make sure children and pets stay indoors while you’re working.
  • Before starting up the lawn mower, walk the area. Relocate toys, hoses, rocks and sticks. Debris such as stones, wood chips and pieces of aged blades can be propelled at high speeds, which can cause a fatal accident.
  • Check lawn mower blades regularly. Look for damage, bends and dullness. Blades should be replaced every year or two, depending on usage.
  • Slow down and take care when mowing around corners, trees, shrubbery or other obstacles.
  • Leave the mower deflector chute in the manufacturer-set position.
  • Don’t modify equipment – it may affect your warranty as well as make the product unsafe.
  • When operating any power tools or equipment (no matter the size), wear closed-toe, slip-resistant shoes, safety glasses, strong gloves, a hat and ear protection. Cover your skin as much as possible.
  • Never underestimate the power of handheld equipment, especially chainsaws. Use the same amount of caution as you do for larger equipment.
  • Wait until the equipment has cooled completely before filling with fuel or attempting any repair or maintenance.

For more information on product safety, visit the OFT website at www.qld.gov.au/fairtading or call 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

Contact details

General enquiries: 13 QGOV (13 74 68)

Media contact: 07 3247 5968 or 07 3247 5965