Brad Jones, president of Belleville-based The Jones Boys Inc., which sells and services lawn mowers, offers the following safety tips for cutting grass with a riding lawn mower:
▪ Make sure the gas cap is not leaking.
▪ Keep all the safety switches hooked up and operational because if a rollover occurs, you want the engine to stop. Lawn mower blades can turn at over 200 mph.
▪ Don’t take hills that are too steep, most manufacturers recommend a maximum of 15 degrees to 20 degrees of slope.
▪ If you can’t walk up a hill, you shouldn’t mow it.
▪ There are mowers that can handle “steeper” hills. Check the owner’s manual.
▪ If it a hill is too steep, put in some ground cover or just let grow.
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration offers these tips about riding lawn mower safety:
▪ If your mower has a roll-over protective structure, wear a seat belt while riding the mower.
▪ Do not operate a mower that has had a roll-over protection structure removed.
▪ Use a slope indicator to determine the slope angle of a hill. You can download a printable version from OSHA.gov.