We have told you all about the benefits of using a stand-on mower, now it’s time to go over some tips for how to operate one safely. Wright Manufacturing says that a stand-on mower’s design makes it a safe mowing option. According to the company’s website, when compared to sit-on mowers, Wright standing mowers provide better traction when mowing hillsides. They argue that a standing mower allows you to shift your weight to counter a slope’s incline and have more control over your ride and balance, reducing the chances of tipping the unit over.
“All safety for most mowers equally applies to stand-ons,” says Bill Wright, president of Wright Manufacturing. Some advice Wright gives involves maintaining the mower’s tires. “Keep drive tires properly inflated, over-inflated tires have insufficient traction,” he advises. “Also replace drive tires with excessively worn traction treads.” Traction is a vital part of safe mowing. Wright advises avoiding slippery slopes with fences at the bottom, and to exit the mower safely in case of emergency. “If you ever need to abandon or jump off the mower on a slope, always try to move to the high side of the mower,” says Wright.
Below are some safety tips to help you further ensure safe equipment operation.
General safety tips
- Read and understand your operator’s manual before operating the mower.
- Add fuel to the tank outdoors before starting the machine. Do not add gasoline to an engine that is hot or already running.
- The appropriate apparel should be worn when operating a mower. This includes and is not limited to: significant footwear, long pants, eye and hearing protection.
- Never allow passengers on ride-on mowers.
- Before leaving the operator’s position, even momentarily, turn off the blade clutch engagement switch and apply the parking brake. Promptly return to the mower.
- Turn off the blade clutch engagement switch, apply the parking brake, stop the engine and remove the key when the mower will be unattended for a longer period.
- Always be aware of your surroundings. Look behind you before backing up and take your time around corners and blind spots.
Preparing the area to be mowed
- Pick up stones and debris from the lawn to prevent injuries and damage from flying objects.
- Locate potential hazards such as ditches, drop-offs or embankments before starting.
- Make sure the area is free of pets and children, and that you are aware of all crew members on site.
Operating the mower on slopes
- Consult your owner’s manual to learn the limitations for what degree of slopes can be mowed safely.
- Remember to consider your comfort level and environment when deciding from what angle to approach a slope to mow.
- Don’t operate the mower on slopes steeper than you feel comfortable with when considering your abilities and the traction.
- Travel across the grade of the slope whenever possible. Avoid mowing in an up or down pattern.
- Reduce speed on slopes.
- Be especially cautious when changing your direction on slopes.
Read next: How to Safely Use Stand-on Mowers on Slopes
When pointing up a slope (ideal for small, steep slopes), your mower has the most weight on the drive wheel and the most traction, but is at greater risk for tipping back. Lean as far forward as possible to distribute your weight to the front of the mower. Accelerate the mower gently.
When pointing down a slope, your mower has the least weight on the rear drive wheels with less traction at the tires and has more tendency to slide. It is less likely the mower will tip back. If you are mowing at this angle, lean back with arms stretched out straight while holding onto the stationary handlebar to transfer your weight to the rear drive wheels for more traction.
If you ever go into an uncontrolled slide while pointing down a slope, let go of the handles and jump off if necessary. Otherwise, regain control of the mower gently (without an extreme acceleration or deceleration) and avoid slopes that cause sliding.
When crossing a slope sideways, the average amount of the mower weight is on the drive wheels. This angle leaves the least amount of weight on the higher-side drive wheel, opening you up to the risk of slipping. This angle is preferred for large areas of gentle slopes. Leaning back when mowing at this angle adds weight to the rear drive wheels and allows you to mow more quickly across the slope without sliding.
Additional Dos and Don’ts
- DO Keep both feet on the foot platform at all times.
- DO turn off the blade clutch engagement switch to reduce risk of thrown objects and rotating blade hazard when in transport.
- DO disengage power to blades, apply the parking brake, stop the engine, remove ignition key and spark plug wire from spark plug(s) before performing any maintenance or repairs.
- DO avoid sudden acceleration or deceleration.
- DO turn off the mower and wait for blade to stop completely before leaving the mower, removing the grass catcher, picking up debris, or crossing gravel roads or paths.
- DO keep hands, feet and clothing away from wheels, blades, engine components and other moving parts.
- DO use a trimmer or walk-behind mower instead of a stand-on unit near drop offs and steep banks.
- DO clean grass, leaves and lubricant spills from surfaces after mower use to prevent fire hazard.
- DO look behind you before backing up.
- DO NOT touch the engine, muffler or hydraulic system while engine is running or soon after it is stopped to avoid burns.
- DO NOT leave the mower unattended on a slope.
- DO NOT allow inexperienced individuals to operate the mower until they have read all safety and operating instructions.
- DO NOT operate the mower at the highest speed unless you are on level, wide-open and visible area.
- DO NOT place your foot or feet on the ground near the back edge of the mower when backing up.
- DO NOT operate without the grass catcher, discharge chute, or other safety devices in place and in working order.
Read your safety manual! This is just a quick overview of basic safe operating procedures. As always—read, understand and follow the instructions in your safety instruction manual, along with the various safety symbols and warnings that appear throughout the manual and on the product itself.