Now that we’re entering the heart of summer, landscaping professionals in many areas of the country are spending about eight hours a day under a blistering sun. That kind of heat, says a John Deere spokesman, is enough to make you lose focus. The result may be moments of carelessness or even an atypical willingness to cut corners.
Deere encourages sweltering landscapers to avoid the following scenarios while trying to beat the heat:
- Ignoring slope and edge safety: Be sure to slow down and use the recommended speed and direction, according to your machine’s manual, while mowing hillsides. If bagging, use the proper front ballast to balance out the weight of the bagger.
- Not using the Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS): Do not attempt to fix a broken or altered ROPS. If it’s a Deere machine, contractors should have the ROPS replaced by a John Deere dealer in order to maintain the structure’s certification. The same is almost surely the case for other manufacturers’ equipment.
- Disregarding seat belts: In order to reduce chances of injury, always wear a seat belt with the folding ROPS in the upright position.
- Incorrect mounting and dismounting: When entering the machine, do so from the left side and use the step or foot plate. Be sure to park before dismounting. Do not try to mount or dismount from the front of the machine.
- Raising mower chutes: Make sure to mow with the discharge chute or entire grass catcher in place.
These are simple things that are not time consuming, but each cuts down the risk of accidents in the midst of a hot and humid mowing season.