A 21-year-old Pennsylvania crewmember was killed after a utility vehicle ran over him at a worksite.
According to OSHA, the worker was operating the UTV on a 20-degree hill, which allowed it to roll over and fatally injure the employee.
OSHA states that operators should not use a UTV on a slope exceeding 15 degrees.
“This tragedy could have been prevented by simply complying with the manufacturer’s instructions,” says Christopher Robinson, director of OSHA’s Pittsburgh Area Office.
Here are some tips for safe slope operation:
- If you cannot back up the slope or if you feel uneasy on it, do not mow it with a ride-on machine.
- Mow up and down slopes, not across.
- Watch for holes, ruts, bumps, rocks or other hidden objects. Uneven terrain could overturn the machine.
- Choose a low ground speed so you will not have to stop or shift while on a slope.
- Do not mow on wet or damp grass. Tires may lose traction.
- Always keep the machine in gear when going down slopes. Do not shift to neutral and coast downhill.
- Avoid starting, stopping or turning on a slope.
- Keep all movement on slopes slow and gradual.
- Use extra care while operating the machine with grass catchers or other attachments; they can affect the stability of the machine. Do not use them on steep slopes.
- Do not try to stabilize the machine by putting your foot on the ground.
- Do not mow near drop-offs, ditches or embankments.