Local Riding Mowers Cited Under Federal Regulation
Riding mowers with an engine greater than 20 horsepower used by municipal employees must have roll protection (seen above, with an added shade component), according to a federal OSHA statute.
Taxpayers in Falconer, New York, have been forced to spend an additional $3,000 on unnecessary riding mower protection over excessive OSHA regulations.
According to a federal OSHA statute, riding mowers with an engine of more than 20 horsepower used by municipal employees must have rollover bars for safety. State officials enforcing the rule cited Falconer public works superintendent Sam Ognibene for two 26-horsepower mowers purchased in 2011.
''The law is set up for larger tractors, not riding mowers used for mowing a park or what people use at home to mow their lawn,'' Ognibene told the Jamestown Post-Journal. ''The regulations are outdated and don't apply to everything. Someone needs to look at the law and revise it.''
Ognibene traded in the two mowers for new tractors, opting for one 18-horsepower mower that does not require the rollover protection and one mower above 20-horsepower with the safety feature. Buying new tractors to be in compliance cost the town of about 2,500 residents an additional $3,000.
The public works supervisor said he originally bought the higher-horsepower mower because its speed helps municipal officials fulfill mowing duties in village parks and cemeteries. The new tractor's rollover protection also takes up more space, which makes mowing more difficult.
''We're not the only municipality being hit by this,'' Ognibene said. ''These type of regulations add up to a lot of money for all municipalities. It is an added expense that is unnecessary.''