OSHA Mandates Fall Harness Protection for ZT Mowers
Last year, more than 15 million zero turns rolled over during the course of mowing lawns just in the United States alone. Worldwide, that number is even higher. While OSHA has done a good job of covering fall protection in the construction industry market, it hasn’t made much of a dent since it mandated ROPS (rollover protection structure) in certain vehicles and devices back in 1976. ROPS protects equipment operators from injuries caused by rollovers by maintaining a space for the operator’s body. But what about these larger wheels being used in modern ZTs? These mowers are getting rather tall, and more and more injuries are being reported when it comes to ingress and egress. Now, OPE operators can rejoice as OSHA mandates fall harness protection for ZT mowers.
OSHA has already suggested slope safety standards for tractors and riding mowers. Note the following guidelines:
- 0° to 15° slope – can use riding mowers or tractor mowers
- 15° to 22° slope – should use tractor mowers
- 22° and greater slopes – use string trimmers, push mowers, or specialized equipment (including remote-controlled mowers)
Check out the full OSHA ROPS Standards here. But what about getting on and off your zero turn mower? What protection exists to help mitigate those injuries?
Now OSHA Mandates Fall Harness Protection for ZT Mowers
So why did OSHA mandate fall protection for zero turn mowers? Simple. Even though ROPS systems can make it fun and safe again to pop wheelies with your zero turn, they do nothing to keep you from being injured as you climb up and off your mower. With oversized John Deere Tweels and more and more owners “pimping their rides”, falls are increasing at an alarming rate. Seatbelts are great, but they’re not good enough to ensure rider safety. Now that fall harness protection is mandated for zero turns, nearly anything goes. As we all know, more regulations mean more safety, so with these new rules, lawn care professionals everywhere can rest assured that mowing lawns is safer than ever before.
What’s Next for OSHA Fall Protection?
OSHA is smart by heading this one up before it becomes a huge issue. From sprained ankles to strained backs, when you climb on a zero turn mower without a safety harness you’re taking your life into your own hands.
We get excited here at Pro Tool Reviews when new regulations hit the streets. They are typically followed by an increase in workplace enthusiasm and greater efficiencies on the jobsite. While penalties have yet to be established for violating the new regulations, expect that to get sorted out before they take effect on February 31st, 2019. As always, we’ll update this Fall Harness Protection for ZT mowers article with more details as they become available.
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This was an April Fool’s Day post from 2018.