Brush cutter safety resources
There is no shortage of web resources, guides and other literature on brush cutter safety. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a federal agency, for instance, has issued a Safety Alert publication, Number 5005, “Brush Cutters Require Cautious Use By Consumers.”
In its introduction to the publication, the CPSC notes, “Injury reports indicate the blades caused severe lacerations and near amputations. These accidents have happened even to professionals using the product.” The downloadable publication discusses hazards and safety precautions operators should take when using a brush cutter.
The CPSC publication describes brush cutters and combination trimmer/brush cutters as “a relatively new type of power tool on the market for yard and garden work.” The report notes: “While the product is somewhat similar to the flexible string weed trimmer, it has a much greater potential for serious and disabling injury. The brush cutter uses a rigid cutting blade in place of the flexible plastic string line.”
The CPSC report says only a few reports of injuries to brush cutter operators and grounds workers have been received to date, but the CPSC staff believes there may be many more injuries if extra caution is not taken in using brush cutters. The greatest danger, the CPSC report notes, appears to be to bystanders or helpers. A key step, says the CPSC report: “Users should read and observe safety and operating instructions in the owner’s manual.”
Govpro.com’s sister web site grounds-mag.com covers brush cutter safety in an item called “Cuttin Up.” An important tip in the article: “Don’t operate a bladed brush cutter that’s not equipped with a handlebar or barrier. Period. The handlebar is what allows you to control the tool. It’s also a barrier to injury if the tool is knocked loose in your hands.”
Stihl’s “Brush Cutter Safety Manual” is a 17-page
guide that has a variety of tips and pointers, including the risk of kickout when using a brush cutter with a rotating metal blade. The manual urges brush cutter operators to wear protective clothing and equipment, including steel-toed safety boots, a safety hard hat, safety glasses and a face shield. For hand protection, the manual urges cutter operators to wear heavy-duty, non-slip gloves, preferably made of chrome leather.