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Garden Shredder Safety

Garden Shredder Safety Guide

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Last Updated on January 17, 2023 by Forest Master

In this guide we have given you a list of important tips on how to keep as safe as possible when using garden shredders

Safety equipment

The first thing that needs to be ensured before using equipment and machinery is to make sure that you are wearing the correct safety equipment. Making sure that your face and body are covered in appropriate safety gear is the best way to make sure that you are protected from any potential harm. 

Wearing a face mask or safety goggles is the best way you can protect yourself from any debris or wood splints that may eject from the garden shredder and ricochet. 

You must also wear gloves in order to protect your hands and some form of hearing protection in order to protect your ears from the sound. Ideally you should use earmuffs as they provide more protection than earplugs. 

Wear appropriate clothing. You must never operate any garden shredder with any loose clothing or jewellery as it can get stuck on branches and the likes or even inside the shredder. Appropriate footwear like outdoor shoes should be worn to avoid anything hitting your feet and to prevent you from slipping or falling. 

General Safety

In terms of general safety when using a garden shredder or other related equipment it is always important that you read the manual first before attempting to use it. This allows the user to make themselves aware of anticipated risks in order to operate it smoothly and without error.

When operating this equipment the user must be over the age of 18 and must not be under the influence of anything that would slow down the user’s reaction speed, such as alcohol, drugs/medication or any other substance that may have this effect.

The material to be fed into the machine should only be wood that is free from nails, screws etc. The machine should be positioned on dry, level ground in the proper upright position making sure that there are no tripping or slipping hazards in the vicinity that could cause harm to the operator. Also, make sure the blades are in good condition and are secure. Bolts must be tight and secure, especially on the hopper and discharge chute. Only use the garden shredder in adequate sunlight or artificial light.

How to use a Garden Shredder safely

  1. Garden Shredders should only be operated by one person. Any other bystanders must always be at least 50 feet from the work area.
  2. Do not shred wood over the specified maximum diameter of the machine.
  3. You must shred using the correct kind of wood. Do not chip seasoned wood, as the shredders are designed for freshly cut soft and hard wood.
  4. Never overload or attempt to chip woods beyond the manufacturer’s recommendation. It could result in personal injury or damage to the machine.
  5. Never place any part of your body inside the feed hopper or the discharge chute. Fragments of wood that have not self-fed into the machine should only be pushed with other pieces of wood that you are feeding into the shredder.
  6. If the shredder gets jammed you must immediately stop the engine or motor. Obstructed fragments inside the hopper should only be removed when the motor is turned off and the drum has stopped rotating.
  7. Never leave the shredder unattended while the motor is running.
  8. Never move in front of the discharge chute.
  9. Ensure no wood fragments remain inside the garden chipper when turning it off.
  10. Always take into account the time delay needed from switching the machine off for the knife drum to come to a halt.
Garden chipper motor

How to use a Petrol Garden Shredder safely

There are further precautions that need to be taken into account when using petrol garden shredders. Petrol is a highly flammable liquid. Petrol also gives off flammable vapour that can
be easily ignited and cause a fire or explosion. Never overlook the hazards of petrol.

Always follow these precautions:

  1. You must never run the engine in an enclosed area that doesn’t have proper ventilation
    as the exhaust from the engine contains carbon monoxide, which is an odourless,
    tasteless and a deadly poisonous gas.
  2. Store all fuel and oil in containers specifically designed and approved for this purpose and keep away from heat, open flame and the reach of children.
  3. Replace rubber fuel lines and grommets when worn or damaged and after 5 years of use.
  4. Fill the petrol tank outdoors with the engine off and allow the engine to cool completely. Don’t handle gasoline if you or anyone nearby is smoking, or if you’re near anything that could cause it to ignite or explode. Re-install the fuel tank cap and fuel container cap securely.
  5. If you spill petrol, do not attempt to start the engine. Move the machine away from the area of the spill and avoid creating any source of ignition until the gas vapours have dissipated. Wipe up any fuel to prevent fire hazard and properly dispose of the waste.
  6. Allow the engine to cool completely before storing in any enclosure. Never store a machine that has gas in the tank, or a fuel container, near an open flame or spark such as a water heater, space heater, clothes dryer or furnace.
  7. Never make adjustments or repairs with the engine running. Shut down the engine, disconnect the spark plug wire, keeping it away from the spark plug to prevent accidental starting, wait 5 minutes before making adjustments or repairs.
  8. Never tamper with the engine’s governor setting. The governor controls the safe operation speed and protects the engine. Over-speeding the engine is dangerous and will cause damage to the engine and to the other moving parts of the machine. If required, see your authorized dealer for engine governor adjustments.
  9. Keep combustible substances away from the engine when it is hot.
  10. Never cover the machine while the exhaust is still hot.
  11. Do not operate the engine with the air cleaner or carburettor air intake cover removed. Removal of such parts could create a fire hazard. Do not use flammable solutions to clean the air filter.
  12. The exhaust and engine become very hot and can cause a severe burn; do not touch.
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