Gardening tools

Using Leaf Blowers Safely and Wisely

Photo: OPEI

Here are a few reminders about using a leaf blower: 

Pay attention when using a leaf blower. Focus on the task at hand.

Stay outside. Leaf blowers should not be used indoors or in poorly ventilated areas.

Maintain space around you. Never point an operating leaf blower in the direction of people or pets. Make sure bystanders, including other people using leaf blowers, are at least 50 feet (15 m) away before you turn on your leaf blower. Stop blowing if you are approached by someone.

Be polite to others. Don’t use your blower during neighborhood quiet hours, such as late at night or very early in the morning.

Dress for safety. Long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and a good pair of gloves will help protect your body from debris. Ear and eye protection (safety goggles or glasses) should also be used.

Check your leaf blower. Inspect the blower before and during use to make sure controls, parts and safety devices are not damaged and are working properly. Review your safety manual if needed. Never modify a blower in a way not authorized by the manufacturer.

Blow with care. Do not use your blower on gravel driveways, mulch or bare dirt, which can stir up dust clouds. 

The above information is offered by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), an international trade association representing power equipment, small engine, portable generator, utility vehicle, golf car and personal transport vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. OPEI is the creative force behind the environmental education program, TurfMutt.comOPEI-Canada represents members on a host of issues, including recycling, emissions and other regulatory developments across the Canadian provinces.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

1 comment on “Using Leaf Blowers Safely and Wisely

  1. As much as I dislike so-called ‘gardeners’ and as much as I loathe leaf blowers, I can not complain about them. I know how much work it is to rake leaves. (I never owned a leaf blower, but lived next door to the biggest valley oak in the Santa Clara Valley, on a parcel with a lot of pavement and a flat roof over four parking spaces.) I can not imagine what we did before leaf blowers.

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