10 mowing safety mistakes to avoid

July 19, 2013 -  By

The folks at John Deere shared these top 10 safety-related mowing mistakes. We’re passing them along to you with the thought that this post could serve as a ready-made tailgate safety talk, ensuring this advice is front of mind for the rest of the summer.

1. Not reading the safety and operations manuals.
Proper, safe operation of any piece of equipment starts with reading the instructions. With a new operator or a new mower, contractors should make sure that operators read the manuals and are familiar with how the machine works. Manuals are typically available in several languages.

2. Not evaluating the terrain prior to mowing.
Crews typically want to get the mowers off the trailer and start mowing right away, but it’s important to take a little time to look at the terrain for any bumps, obstructions or hazards. This step is important when mowing a property for the first time, but even if it’s familiar, operators should still look for rocks, debris or other obstructions that may have fallen onto the turf.

3. Not wearing seat belts.
If a seat belt is installed on the machine, that means it needs to be worn. In the case of a rollover, a seatbelt keeps the operator in the “safe” zone and can help prevent serious injury.

4. Not using the ROPS.
Roll Over Protection Systems (ROPS) usually have a hinge that allow them to be folded down. This feature is only for transportation purposes. Once a mower rolls off a truck or trailer, the ROPS needs to be raised and tightened.

5. Not using ear plugs.
he constant sound of an engine can have a cumulative effect on an operator’s hearing. Wearing proper ear protection, even if it doesn’t seem too loud, protects the operator from eventual hearing loss.

6. Not checking tires.
The tires are what keep the mower stable and give it traction. They should be checked every day for low pressure, cuts, bubbles, missing lug nuts or other potential dangers that may affect the mower’s ability to run safely.

7. Raising or removing the discharge deflector.
Operators sometimes keep the discharge chute raised, but this is a safety hazard. The chute prevents any rocks, sticks or other debris from becoming dangerous projectiles that could damage property or harm passers-by or other crew members.

8. Mowing in reverse.
Operators sometimes mow in reverse to cover small areas they missed. This practice can be dangerous, as it makes it harder to see obstructions and hazards, and may affect the mower’s stability on a hillside.

9. Going too fast on slopes.
Mowing on slopes can be a delicate operation. Operators like to go fast to get the job done, but on hillsides it’s important to go slowly. Any uneven terrain or obstructions on a slope can affect the mower’s stability, so it’s important to take extra caution to prevent rollovers.

10. Not clearing debris and allowing engine to cool before storage.
After every use, any leaves, clippings or other debris should be removed from the engine area. The engine also should be allowed to cool before storage, a practice that prevents fires.

We’re curious: Do you have any to add? Share them with others in the comments section below.

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Marisa Palmieri

About the Author:

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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