How to Safely Use Grass Trimmers and Brushcutters

As spring rolls around, the temperature rises, daylight hours get longer, and your garden will start to blossom. It’s at this beautiful time of year when your foliage really comes out to play—and so do the garden tools. 

Naturally, you’ll be excited to let rip on your new grass trimmer or brushcutter, but remember to always operate these tools safely. Fortunately, we’ve got a few top tips to help you do just that. 

Always Put Safety First
Grass trimmers and brushcutters are a great way to work more efficiently—but you should always wear the right safety equipment when using them, including safety glasses, face protection, and safety boots (note: your grass trimmer user manual will include full details related to your model).

You should always familiarise yourself with your grass trimmer before you fire it up for the first time. Make sure it’s in perfect working order before each use, and read through the operator’s manual to ensure you’re handling the tools correctly and not working in a way that puts you or others at risk.

Prepare Your Trimmer
Once your grass trimmer starts up, it will begin kicking out emissions. While these gases may be odourless and invisible, you should never run the trimmer inside or in an enclosed space—these are outdoor tools and need plenty of ventilation. 

You should also make sure your working area is sturdy underfoot, free from tripping hazards such as uneven ground, unruly plants, tree stumps, or hidden roots.

Make sure to check the fuel system before you start work, ensuring the fuel cap, hose connections and manual fuel pump are free from leaks. If you do find a leak, don’t start the engine as this could lead to a fire. Instead, contact your power tool dealer who will advise on what to do next. 

Finally, you should check that the throttle lever lock and throttle trigger both move smoothly, with the throttle automatically springing back into the idle position. 

Quick grass trimmer prep steps:

  • Make sure the cutting tool or attachment of your grass trimmer is properly installed and in good condition.

  • Ensure all safety features (e.g. rider plate and cutting guard) are free from damage. If they are damaged, you need to replace them, as your trimmer is not safe to use. 

  • Don’t modify your grass trimmer’s operating or safety equipment in any way.

  • Keep the handle free from dirt and oil.

Keep a Safe Distance
When you’re ready to use your new trimmer, make sure there are no people (especially children) or animals within the recommended safety radius—trimmers can flick stones and other debris up, which can cause serious injury. It’s for this reason you should also maintain the same safety distance from vehicles and windows.

Tips for Safe Working 

  • Always refuel your grass trimmer at least 3 metres away from your working area.

  • As you scope out your working area, look out for potential obstacles such as branches and roots and mark them out. 

  • Work on a level, solid surface to avoid slipping or falling.

  • Never work with a grass trimmer on your own, always have someone within hearing distance  in case you need to call for help.

  • As always, make sure you’re familiar with your new power tools before you use them.

For more information, or if you’re in the market for new power tools, visit our dedicated STIHL products.