Operation of heavy equipment (such as lawn mowers) should always been done by trained persons who have demonstrated their ability to properly and safely operate. Those working around equipment while it is being operated should be trained in how to work safely around the equipment and how to stay clear. Unsafe practices by either can result in injury.
Some basic safety rules to consider for operators and those working around equipment are:
• Good communication between the operator and surrounding employees. Hand signals aid in communication in these situations.
• Most heavy equipment (with the exception of mowers) have back up warning alarms that can be heard by nearby workers.
• A rollover protection structure (ROPS) is required on all riding lawn mowers to meet OSHA requirements. The ROPS is designed to protect the operator if the machine tips over. A seat belt should be worn (if available) to keep the operator from being thrown from the seat during a rollover.
• If working on slopes, try to avoid moving across the face of the slope. Try to operate up and down the slope face if possible.
• Wear hearing protection when necessary. You should wear protective ear plugs or muffs when working around or on loud equipment (Do not use electronic music devices or ear buds, as these can affect you hearing a coworker or the sound of your machine malfunctioning).
• Never jump onto or off of the equipment. Operators should always use the 3-point contact rule when climbing onto or off of equipment.
Make sure you follow all work and equipment-specific safety rules when operating or working around heavy equipment.