Mower Rollover Danger: November 2021 Safety & Hygiene Corner

Question: It’s just mowing the grass, Right? What is that bar that’s folded up behind me for? Can you detail the Dangers of Roll-Overs of Riding Mowers?

Answer: Some riding mowers with a roll-over protective structure (ROPS). The ROPS can either be standard or optional equipment. If the mower does not have a ROPS, look for unused bolt holes or brackets near the seat or frame to see if the mower should be equipped with a ROPS. Do not operate any mower that was intended to be equipped with a ROPS without its ROPS in place. In many cases, retrofit kits are available.  A few important points to note:

  • Mowers with a ROPS should be equipped with a seat belt.
  • Where vertical clearance does not allow for a ROPS to be in the raised (active) position, the ROPS may be temporarily placed in the lowered (inactive) position. Also, workers should not wear a seat belt while operating a riding mower with the ROPS in the lowered position. Return the ROPS to the raised position as soon as the riding mower is in an area where the clearance allows its use and reconnect the seat belt.
  • It’s best to equip riding mowers with operator presence control system that shuts off the blades when the operator dismounts the machine or rises out of the seat. 
  • Equip riding mowers with interlocks that ensure that the engine cannot start while the mower is in gear or if the blade is engaged.
  • Keep riding mowers in good working order and inspect them periodically.
  • Operators should use a standard checklist to do a general inspection of the equipment before use.
  • Experienced service personnel should inspect riding mowers for the necessary safety features and overall maintenance at least annually. Only qualified personnel should service and repair riding mowers.

Leaf collection is upon us, when mulching and collecting leaves new hazards are created. Never reach through the chute to unclog mower decks while mower is running, or blades are spinning. Ensure blades are at a COMPLETE stop and mower is OFF and chocked BEFORE performing any work.Dangers of Roll-Overs of Riding Mowers | Occupational Safety and Health Administration (

*Provided by the Ohio BWC safety consultants.