ZTR Mowers and seatbelts. Do you wear them?

Many larger lawn mowers nowadays come with seat belts and roll over protection systems. Even with all the time and energy spent on safety, there are still many operators who feel the safety devices will lead to more injury during the event of an accident, so they fail to utilize them. The fact of the matter is, if you are mowing on an incline and your mower starts to get out of control and roll, the chances are you will be caught off guard and not be able to get out of the way. So, you can forget about the myth of jumping clear before you get crushed. Still with all the news reports and video available to view how accidents happen, some landscapers still maintain their viewpoint, as we will see in this discussion on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, that attempting to jump clear of a roll over is a better option.

One lawn care business owner wrote “all of my zero turn mower riders have seat belts. I also have the ROPS bar ( Roll Over Protection System ) on my units. My question is, do you wear the seat belt when riding them? I’ve always been hesitant to wear them. Strapping yourself to a 1,200lb machine doesn’t seem too smart. I’ve always thought that If I ever did start to roll that I would rather make an effort to bail rather than ride it out!! Besides the ROPS bar will save me right? I guess I just want to hear what others think about this issue.”

A second lawn care business owner responded “with the rops bar, it would make sense to wear your seat belt since you would roll with it. Without it, I don’t see a benefit, you’re getting crushed one way or another.”

A third shared “it’s actually the law here that any piece of equipment that has a seat belt, must be worn. I personally find it a pain on some of the equipment, but I still wear them.

Years back, I was the safety manager for a manufacturing company for many years and statistics show that death occurs in roll overs on forklifts most often occurs when the rider is not wearing a seat belt as the normal reaction is to jump down hill and the machine lands on top of you.

I know we are not talking forklifts here but machine is a machine, you can not jump high or fast enough to clear a rolling machine by jumping uphill and natural instinct makes you want to get off of the rolling machine, so if belted in, then you have to ride it out.

The manufactures have spent a lot of hours researching designs for the safety of the operators of their equipment and put it’s use to many test to ensure you have the best chance of staying alive when operating the equipment.

O.S.H.A. will fine you if you are caught disabling or not using safety equipment installed on equipment.”

A fourth said “I believe bailing out of the equipment is smarter.

Roll over protection is so minimal. You could probably roll forward with a pretty good chance of getting your skull crushed by that extra bar about to land on the back of your head. If you wore a seat belt, the whiplash of the roll would knock you out dead. It’s better to bail out!!!

Being such odd shaped machines, and while wearing a seat belt, nothing stops your legs from being crushed/broken into pieces during a roll. Imagine falling into a piggy-back position, carrying the entire tractors weight on your back… Yeah, that’s why I say NO to seat belts!!!!

If you roll to your side, whatever is on the ground (rocks, spikes of doom) you’re a gonner, ain’t no ROPS gonna save you!”

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