In an effort to reduce the number of injuries caused by lawn mowers, the Accident Compensation Corporation is challenging all New Zealanders to be safe and consider the risk of injury as they pull their mowers out of the garden shed.
The ACC accepted 6,922 lawn mower-related injuries in 2022 — the most claims since 2019 — and cost $12.6 million to help people recover.
Of these, 461 were from Otago and Southland – more than one a day.
In New Zealand, grass grew faster during the spring months and this was reflected in injury data, said James Whittaker, ACC injury prevention lead, in New Zealand.
In August 2022, the ACC accepted 423 lawn mowing-related injury claims, and these claims increased throughout the spring months – September (550), October (690), and November (839).
The leading areas for lawnmower injuries in 2022 are Auckland (1,986), Waikato (932), Canterbury (693) and Northland (493).
The most common injuries were soft tissue injuries (5334), pre-laceration/puncture/sting (915) and fracture/dislocation (154).
Such accidents had lifelong consequences for 21 New Zealanders who had their limbs amputated due to a lawnmower injury.
The three main body parts injured in a lawnmower injury are the back/spine (2,230), shoulder (970), and finger/thumb (476).
“Since most injuries occur to people’s backs, we encourage you to use good technique when lifting the mower – bend your knees and have a straight back.
“And when you pull the rope to start the mower, do so in a way that doesn’t put pressure on your back, shoulders or neck.”
People were also asked to consider whether they were wearing appropriate equipment (such as steel-toed boots, ear muffs, and safety glasses); Are there other people nearby who are at risk? Has the area been cleared of any debris? Is there a way to mow the grass without putting pressure on your back?
“Our data shows us that infections are more likely to occur in our homes than anywhere else.
“No one wants to start their weekend getting ready to mow the lawn or do DIY work and then end up in an accident and an injury emergency.
“The good news is that these injuries are preventable. You can prevent them from happening if you take a moment to think about the risks before you get involved.”