The goal of this article is to point out some simple things you can do to use a leaf vacuum blower safely and efficiently.
While it’s true that most leaf blowers come with built in safety features such as emergency shut offs, guards to protect hands, and so on, it is still advisable to use further protection to prevent harm to the operator. Before firing up your leaf blower and going all gung-ho with it, think about the surface. Keep in mind that while it isn’t difficult to maintain control over the blower itself, the stones, dirt, wood chips and other debris flying about is another story. Paved areas such as driveways or walkways are prone to have small stones and dirt on them, so take extra care in these areas.
Always protect you hands by wearing gloves. At some point when you are sucking up leaves and other debris with the vacuum feature the tube is likely to become blocked. You don’t want to be sticking your bare hand in the tube with the potential of sharp twigs being caught in the suction tube. And of course be sure the garden vacuum is completely turned off before doing so. I would even recommend unplugging it first if it is an electric model.
To protect your eyes you really should be wearing goggles or safety glasses when operating the unit. These blowers kick up a lot of dust, particularly in the drier times. Additionally, small stones and chips can be blown around at high velocities and bounce and ricochet off of all sorts of things. A pair of safety glasses or goggles can be bought for quite cheap at your local hardware or home improvement store.
While you are shopping for eye protection, make sure to also find some good ear protection. It could be as simple as foam earplugs that you roll, place into your ear and allow to expand, or as elaborate as bigger, bulkier earphones that look like they came from a seventies stereo system. High powered blowers can be very loud, especially the gas powered ones. That isn’t to say that electric models are quiet enough to avoid the need for ear protection, on the contrary, they are quite loud as well. Another important fact about hearing damage is the longer you are exposed to noise, the more damage to your hearing.
Using a leaf vacuum blower safely is not rocket science, and a lot of what I covered here is just common sense. However, in the midst of our fast-paced lives, it is easy to overlook what seem to be minor health risks. Minor, that is, until you find yourself in the emergency room because an eighty mile per hour pebble somehow happened to find your eye. The message is, when using any sort of yard vacuum blower, think and be safe.