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12/2/2008

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Lawn Mower Maintenance: Ensure Safe, Reliable Operations

Compiled by FacilitiesNet Staff

Preparing lawn-mowing equipment for the rigorous spring schedule can help ensure an efficient, successful mowing season.

First and foremost, grounds managers should follow the lawn mower maintenance program outlined in each owner’s manual. Makes and models of mowers vary, so managers should use the owner’s manual for each piece of equipment as the minimum maintenance standards. If mechanics and operators fail to follow the program outlined in the manual, the equipment warranty might not remain effective.

Prior to filling the fuel tank and mowing for the first time, mechanics should thoroughly inspect all equipment, and a mechanic or qualified staff member should complete annual lawn mower maintenance procedures.

Safety First
Operators must be sure to inspect all safety features to ensure they are in working order. Do not allow operators to override or modify safety devices; safety should never be compromised for efficiency. One accident can quickly negate all the benefits of saving a few minutes each day.

Attention and commitment to routine lawn mower maintenance goes a long way to ensuring operator safety. Worn belts and brakes, loose bolts, faulty wiring, improper tire pressure and even broken seat belts can contribute to injury.

Manufacturers continually improve safety features on mowing equipment and tractors. Automatic shutoffs, ergonomic hand controls, vibration and noise reduction, roll bars, and seat belts are among the safety features included in today’s mowing equipment.

Deflectors and guards are also more common on mower decks and should remain in place when mowing near streets, parking lots and other places where flying objects thrown by the mower might damage property or injure people.

Some manufactures have equipped new riding mowers with back-over protection devices, which prevent the blade from turning while the mower is in reverse. These back-over protection devices also might include a sensor that stops the engine or the blades or the wheels when it detects a bystander behind the machine.

Managers should set up routine equipment lawn mower maintenance schedules before operations hit full stride. Mechanics should document their daily, weekly and monthly maintenance activities and communicate them to the operators.

Ease of service must remain a top priority when specifying mowers. If a mower is easy to maintain, it is more likely to receive the care necessary to keep it in good working condition for its expected life.

Mower maintainability and durability have been greatly enhanced. New features include built-in jacks for raising decks when changing blades, easier-to-read temperature gauges, and decks with blade spindles without grease fittings on the bearings.



Sources:
Spring into Mowing by Cathy Walker
Mowing Safety: A Recipe for Success by Cathy Walker
Mower Specification Shortcuts by Cathy Walker



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Equipment Options to Maximize Mowers

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