To protect the health and safety of yourself and those around you, it is best to avoid using gas powered leaf blowers altogether and to choose safer tools like rakes, brooms or electric devices. If this is not an option, please follow the below guidelines for leaf blower worker safety which have been compiled from equipment manufacturers and safety organizations to minimize the risk to operators and to bystanders.
MINIMIZE TOXIC EMISSIONS
Gas powered leaf blowers create high volumes of toxic emissions that are dangerous to human health. It is impossible to protect operators and the public from these pollutants, so the best practice is to limit operation of gas blowers to only truly essential operations where other tools are not practical.
WEAR PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
Leaf blowers create dust and flying debris which can damage eyesight and lead to lung and respiratory problems. They produce extreme levels of noise that can permanently damage hearing. It is critical to wear protective clothing.
- Eye protection – safety glasses or goggles to protect from dust and debris
- Ear protection – ear muffs or ear plugs to protect from extreme noise
- Long sleeves and long pants – to protect from flying debris
- N95 rated dust mask – to protect from fine particulates in dry, dusty conditions
BLOW WITH CAUTION
Remember that blowers are powerful tools that can harm people and property.
- Clear the area – other operators, bystanders and animals should be at least 50 feet away from the blower
- Stop blowing if someone steps inside the 50 foot boundary
- Never point the nozzle or blow debris toward people, pets, vehicles or open windows or doors.
- Never operate a blower from on top of a ladder, rooftop or other unstable surface.
- Never operate a blower indoors
- Use the lowest throttle that will do the work
In dry conditions, blowers create large quantities of dust that may include dangerous materials which can cause permanent lung damage to operators and bystanders. Avoid generating dust as much as possible by following these guidelines:
- Raise the nozzle away from the ground when blowing
- Check wind direction to avoid creating dust clouds that blow into buildings or toward bystanders
- Wet the area to be cleared before blowing
Never use a leaf blower to clean up the following materials:
- Plaster dust
- Cement or concrete dust
- Gravel or gravel dust
- Construction dirt
- Dry garden topsoil
HANDLE GAS SAFELY
- Make sure the machine is off
- Let the engine cool a few minutes if it has been running
- Loosen the cap slowly to release pressure in the tank
- Make sure you are using the correct fuel/oil mixture – check the manual if you are unsure of the proper ratio
- Do not smoke while refueling
- Clean up any fuel spills and wipe the blower dry before starting
- Start the leaf blower at least 10 feet from the fueling area