Kentucky Association of Counties

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Kentucky Association of Counties


County Champion


County governments should be mindful of mower safety this spring

From Steve Clary, Safety and Loss Control Specialist
Spring in Kentucky already has gotten off to a chaotic start with lots of rain, high winds and confirmed tornadoes. That rain will soon lead to a busy mowing season, so counties need to prioritize safety during this time.

By following these best practices, county governments can ensure that their tractor mowers are properly prepared for mowing season, reducing the risk of equipment failures, improving operational efficiency, and promoting safety for operators and bystanders.

Preparing tractor mowers for mowing season is essential for county governments to ensure efficient and safe operations.

Here are some best practices for county governments to follow:

Perform routine maintenance: Conduct routine maintenance checks on tractor mowers before the mowing season begins. This includes checking the engine oil, hydraulic fluid levels, coolant levels and fuel filters. Replace any worn-out parts and ensure that all components are in good working condition. Maintenance and lubrication should be completed according to the manufacturer’s operation manual.

Inspect blades and cutting decks: Inspect mower blades and cutting decks for damage, wear or corrosion. Replace worn, bent or cracked blades, along with new bolts. These should be torqued to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Check the cutting deck for any cracks or structural issues that may affect performance. Replace all protective covers and guards if damaged or missing.

Check tire pressure and condition: Inspect the tires for proper inflation and any signs of wear or damage. Ensure that tire treads are in good condition and replace tires if necessary. Proper tire maintenance is crucial for stability and traction during mowing operations.

Inspect safety features: Check all safety features, including seat belts, roll-over protection structures (ROPS), and emergency shut-off switches. Ensure that these features are functioning correctly to protect operators in case of accidents or equipment malfunctions. All safety stickers and decals should be replaced if damaged. Usually, the manufacturer will send new ones at no cost.

Test electrical systems: Test the battery, lights and electrical wiring to ensure proper functionality. Replace any faulty components and ensure that all electrical connections are secure. Proper lighting is essential for safe operation, especially when mowing in low-light conditions.

Clean and lubricate moving parts: Clean debris, dirt and grass clippings from moving parts such as belts, pulleys, bearings, operator stations and engine compartments. Lubricate these components as recommended by the manufacturer to prevent friction and extend their lifespan.

Inspect fluid systems: Check hydraulic systems, including hoses, fittings, and cylinders, for leaks or damage. Replace any worn-out components and ensure that hydraulic fluid levels are within the recommended range. Never use your hands to check for leaks while lines or fittings are under pressure, instead use cardboard or a piece of wood.

Train operators: Provide training for operators on proper equipment operation, safety procedures, and maintenance tasks. Ensure that operators are familiar with the tractor mower's controls, safety features, and operational guidelines.

Plan mowing routes: Develop mowing routes and schedules based on the specific needs of each area to be mowed. Consider factors such as terrain, obstacles and traffic flow to optimize efficiency and safety during mowing operations.

Document maintenance records: Keep detailed records of all maintenance activities, inspections, and repairs performed on tractor mowers. This documentation can help track equipment reliability and identify any recurring issues.

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