avoid mowing incidents

Mowing is one of many tasks that come with the job for those working in agriculture. Whether you love or hate mowing, it’s a routine summer chore that could potentially have deadly consequences when safety precautions are not followed. 

“Every summer we see tragic mowing fatalities, amputations, and other serious injuries in Ohio that could have been prevented,” said Bernie Silkowski, superintendent for the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation’s Division of Safety and Hygiene. “Taking the time to be mindful of simple mowing safety procedures can literally help save lives.”

The hot days of late summer are a great time to review the following tips and resources provided by BWC to make mowing operations safer for yourself and your fellow workers.

General mowing tips
  • Train and retrain employees to maintain competency to operate a riding mower safely.
  • Inspect the terrain for hazards such as objects, obstructions, holes, and drop-offs.
  • Always start a riding mower from the operator position and never mount or dismount when it is running.
  • Make sure every mower includes an operable auto shut-off when the rider is not in the seat.
  • Never carry passengers, including children. Riding mowers are one-person machines.
Slope Mowing Tips

Slopes are a major factor related to loss of control and tip-over accidents, which can result in injury or death. Operation on slopes requires extra caution. If you cannot back up the slope or if you feel uneasy on it, do not mow it. 

  • Mow on slopes in the direction recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Do not mow on slopes greater than 15 degrees, unless allowed by the manufacturer.
  • Never start or stop a riding mower when it is going uphill or downhill. Avoid all sudden starts, stops or turns.
  • Examine all safety devices to ensure the Roll-Over Protection Structure (ROPS), guards, seat belts and shields are in place and properly used.
  • To avoid injury or death from roll-over, use the seat belt and keep the ROPS fully raised and in the locked position.
  • Check carefully for overhead clearance and avoid contact with overhead objects.

Find other important mowing tips regarding tire traction, making turns, and hazards in BWC’s mowing safety bulletin. Visit bwc.ohio.gov for additional information about keeping your workers safe this summer.

Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation
Established in 1912, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation is the exclusive provider of workers’ compensation insurance in Ohio, serving 249,000 public and private employers. With nearly 1,600 employees and assets of approximately $25 billion, BWC is one of the largest state-run insurance systems in the United States. For more, visit bwc.ohio.gov.
Photo credit: Luis Negron, Pexels
Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
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Mandy Way

Way Farms

Farm Labor Resources
I appreciate the benefit of having a strong voice in my corner. The extras that are included in membership are wonderful, but I'm a member because of the positive impact to my local and state agricultural communities.
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Ernie Welch

Van Wert County Farm Bureau

Strong communities
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
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Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
Farm Bureau involvement has taught me how to grow my professional and leadership experience outside of the workforce and how to do that in a community-centric way.
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Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

Young Ag Professionals program
With not growing up on a farm, I’d say I was a late bloomer to agriculture. I feel so fortunate that I found the agriculture industry. There are so many opportunities for growth.
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Jenna Gregorich

Coshocton County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Knowing that horticulture is under the agriculture umbrella and having Farm Bureau supporting horticulture like it does the rest of ag is very important.
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Jared Hughes

Groovy Plants Ranch

Groovy Plants Ranch
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
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Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
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Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

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