Archive for the ‘Safety’ Category

Heat and Sun Safety for Lawn Care Professionals

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017
Lazer Z Sun Shade

Exmark mower sun-shades block direct sun rays and reduce the impact of direct sunlight.

One of the best ways to increase productivity in your lawn mowing business is to take care of your team and your equipment no matter what the weather.

Lawn maintenance is very much a seasonal business, and you probably count on the summer months as some of your most productive. By protecting your workers (and yourself) from the direct rays of the sun, you can reduce many of the most damaging aspects of direct sunlight.

Seasonal Workers and Sun

Outdoor workers may face an elevated risk of developing skin cancer and related complications. Although using sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher can help reduce skin damage, it isn’t 100 percent effective. Encourage employees to use a combination of sunscreen, sun protective clothing, and hats to help reduce sun exposure.

Heat-Related Illnesses

More concerning for daily productivity are dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Heat exhaustion can lead to headaches, cramps and vomiting, and heat stroke needs proper medical attention. Both are most common in the summer months, especially for people who are working in direct sunlight during hours when the sun is highest in the sky, and temperatures are likely to be hottest.

Steps to limit the impact of these heat- and sun-related conditions include encouraging adequate rest and water intake, modifying work schedules, and enhancing workplace conditions. Inform your employees of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and encourage them to stay hydrated while working.

According to OSHA, working in full sunlight can increase the heat index by 15 degrees Fahrenheit. In the hottest times of the year, or during prolonged heatwaves, it may be impractical to mow only during cooler parts of the day. However, as a business owner, you don’t want your employees suffering from heat-related illnesses on the job with their resulting downtimes, costs and other concerns. Installing sun-shades on riding mowers can provide relief from the worst impacts of the sun, protecting both your employees and your daily productivity.

Exmark mower sun-shades work in conjunction with the existing Roll-Over Protection System (ROPS). Composed of heavy-duty, water-repellant canvas, they create a canopy above the operator. They block direct sun’s direct rays, reducing the impact of direct sunlight like sunburn, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Sun-shades are available for Lazer Z, Radius, Quest and Pioneer models. Use our accessory finder to see if one is available for your mower.

Awareness, education and prevention can go a long way in keeping your employees (and yourself) healthy and your business productive. Start planning now for the long hot days of summer. For more information on sun safety, the Centers for Disease Control and OSHA can be a good place to start.

 

Lawn Mower Mistakes to Avoid

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

Exmark lawn care

When you make the investment in a quality mower, regular maintenance and upkeep is a must. Therefore, it is important to avoid situations that can damage your equipment, cause wear and tear, or even increase your chances of an injury. Take better care of your lawn—and your equipment—by staying away from these common lawn mower mistakes.

 

Buying More/Less Mower Than You Need: If your yard is smaller in size or covered with many things to mow around, chances are a larger zero-turn mower might not be the right machine for the job. At the same time, a yard that’s half an acre or more could take you hours to trim with a push mower. Always match the lawn mower you use to your specific needs. Considerations like the size of your lawn, the grade of any slopes, the type of terrain and obstacles, like trees, will all play a role.

Low Oil Levels: Just like a car, low oil levels can damage your lawn mower’s engine. To avoid overheating and keep everything lubricated properly, check your mower’s oil level each time you go out.

Low Tire Pressure: If you’re noticing an uneven deck, your problem might be as simple as low tire pressure on one or all of your tires. Low pressure can cause an uneven cut and affect your ability to steer or have proper traction, so always make sure the pressure matches mower guidelines before heading out.

Clogged Decks: The common mower advice to clean out your equipment after every use exists for a reason. Mowers work best and are safest when their blades and undercarriage are clean. After you mow, and once the mower is turned off, remove any dirt, grass, weeds, or other debris, and be sure to give the equipment plenty of time to dry before you put it away.

Dull Blades: Lawn mower blades aren’t meant to last forever. Over time and with excessive use, they will grow dull and less effective overall, which can cause tearing of the grass and make the turf more susceptible to disease. If you aren’t equipped to sharpen mower blades yourself, take them to your authorized dealer for sharpening or replacement.

Not Checking for Rocks and Other Debris: Even fairly small rocks and other debris in the yard can bend or chip your mower blades, leading to dull blades and uneven cutting. More importantly, not removing these items from the lawn before mowing can cause serious injury to others or property damage. Be careful with known rocky areas in your lawn, and trim around rocks that are too big to move before mowing.

Ignoring the Air Filter: When you’re performing regular lawn mower maintenance, make sure you check the air filter. To avoid clogs, wash the filter after each use and replace it once or twice a year.

Cutting a Wet Lawn: Clumps caused by wet clippings can clog the machine, and the water-soaked grass might be more slippery than you think. Even if you’re on a tight mowing schedule, it’s safer to wait until conditions improve.

Bad Storage: A lawn mower isn’t like a car, in that it’s not ideal to leave it parked outside and exposed to the elements. Covered storage is a must when the mower isn’t in use, even if it’s just for a few days at a time; however, you will want to make sure the mower is cooled down before putting it away. You should also consider storage where rodents and other pests can get in.

You should also keep up with mower maintenance schedules and follow the safety instructions for your mower. Most accidents occur because of shortcuts or a failure to properly secure the equipment before you use it. It might take a few extra minutes to get everything running in tip-top shape, but the quality of your lawn and your safety will be well worth it.

Exmark Spreader Sprayer Video Series

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Introduction

Spray System Advantages

Safe Operation and Routine Maintenance

Spray and Spread System Calibration

Spray System Operation

Spreader Operation

Maintenance

Learn more about the Exmark stand-on Spreader-Sprayer at Exmark.com.

What to Know When Repairing Your Lawn Mower

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

(StatePoint) Every lawn mower requires routine maintenance to keep it running with efficiency and maximum performance. If a breakdown occurs or parts wear out, it’s much more cost-efficient to simply replace the worn parts than it is to buy a whole new mower.

EX16_Pioneer_S-Series_InUse_6_web72To keep your mower functioning optimally, consider the following:

Regular Maintenance

Follow your manufacturer’s suggested maintenance schedule. Check your owner’s manual or your mower brand’s website for information on when and how to maintain your  machine, including checking and changing engine oil and filters, hydraulic filters, belts, air cleaners, spark plugs and more. This upkeep on your mower can prevent unscheduled downtime and costly repairs.

Replace Parts Wisely

“Modern mowers are designed to function as a system; they aren’t just a collection of parts,” says David Martin, customer service manager at Exmark, a leading mower manufacturer.

While virtually any company can sell parts that are almost right for your machine, Martin advises using original parts from the mower manufacturer. Brands such as Exmark, for example, extensively test every part and accessory for hundreds of hours to ensure they won’t compromise the safety, productivity or durability of the mower, or the quality of cut it provides.

“There is great value in using genuine Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts, as opposed to cheaper “will fit” alternatives, when replacing belts, blades, filters, lubricants and other mower parts,” says Martin.

To learn more about the differences between using generic replacements from an aftermarket company and OEM parts, visit www.exmark.com/OriginalParts.

Whether you mow your lawn often or just a few times a season, be sure to take good care of your mower, paying attention to the suggested maintenance routine. It’s always better to prevent a problem before it becomes an issue. And doing so will improve the quality of each cut and extend the life of the machine.

Spring is Coming… Is Your Mower Ready?

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

Late-winter is a great time to take stock of your mower’s maintenance needs and get them taken care of before the spring growing season. That way, you’ll be ready to roll when the growth of your lawn hits full stride. Not only does a properly maintained mower perform better, but it will also last longer and be more reliable over the course of its life.

Exmark blades

Nothing affects your mower’s quality of cut more than blade sharpness. It pays to keep ’em sharp.

Always consult your owner’s manual to determine what specific maintenance is necessary for your machine, but some common examples of spring mower maintenance items include:

  • Cleaning — The most basic maintenance you can perform is giving your mower a thorough cleaning. Starting with a clean mower will make it easier to perform other spring maintenance items, and built-up dirt and grass clippings can reduce the performance of your machine.
  • Blades — Your mower will cut faster and deliver a better quality of cut with sharp blades. Few parts affect cut quality and productivity as dramatically as sharp, balanced blades, and with practice, you can change a set of blades in less than ten minutes. It’s well worth the time and effort. One pro tip is to get an extra set of blades for your mower to swap in when your blades lose their edge. You’ll always have sharp, balanced blades ready to go, with no downtime required for sharpening.
  • Belts — Inspect all belts and replace any that appear visibly worn. Also check all belt tensioners to ensure proper function.
  • Engine oil — Start off the season with a fresh oil and filters for each of your mowers. Oil is the life blood of your engine, and changing it out is much less expensive than an oil breakdown-related engine issue.
  • Spark plugs — Replace your mower’s spark plug(s) at the start of the season to ensure easy starting and consistent running performance.
  • Exmark tire inflation

    Proper tire pressure affects the safety, handling and reliability of your mower.

    Fuel — Fuel that’s been sitting in the tank for an extended period should be drained and replaced with fresh fuel. Gasoline degrades in quality and can cause inconsistent starting and running performance. A fuel treatment or stabilizer can help the fuel stay fresh longer, and prevent the absorption of moisture by the fuel. Never use fuel that contains more than 10-percent ethanol in mowers, as higher percentage ethanol blends may lead to engine damage and/or performance issues.

  • Tire pressure — Check the pressure on all pneumatic mower tires and fill them to the recommended pressure marked on the tire sidewall. Operation with too-low tire pressure is a safety issue, first and foremost, and it also compromises mower efficiency, performance and handling.

Spend some time with your mower in the shop now to ensure your mower is good to go when the grass is growing strong later this season. You’ll be thankful you did.

Service resources at Exmark.com:

 

Exmark Employee Profile: Don Uher

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

Photo Dec 16, 1 20 40 PMDon Uher is a Value Stream Manager in the Exmark manufacturing operation. He’s been an important part of the Exmark team for more than 18 years. Today, we’ll learn a little more about Don and his background.

Where are you from?

I grew up on a farm near Daykin, Nebraska (approx. 30 miles west of Beatrice), and today live on that same property, which is now an acreage.

Tell us about what you do at Exmark?

I’m responsible for the safety, quality, delivery, efficiency and morale of the north value stream at Exmark. I do just about anything that needs to be done in order to keep the assembly lines operating efficiently. I have an outstanding group of supervisors and support personnel who really do the hard work to get it all done. I have to name them all, as they really are the ones who, on an hour-by-hour basis, keep it all running smoothly. They include:

  • Manufacturing engineers: Justin Schuck and Brandon King
  • Supervisors: Dave Ullman; Vicki Pearce; Scott Wolbert; Rafael Oman; Chris Riley; Rick Miller; and Ronda Mewes in the Tool Crib.

They are a great group and do their best to build the highest quality product every day.

What’s your favorite part of working at Exmark?

I’ve been fortunate to have formed great friendships with a lot of people over the years. That’s the best thing I’ll take away from my time at Exmark.

What do you like to do in your free time?

My wife and I usually have too large of a garden, but I also hunt and fish, and we cherish every moment we get together with our grandchildren.

If you could have lunch with any person, who would it be?

People are just people. Some have had more success in life, some less, so meeting anyone in particular doesn’t hold a great deal of interest for me. The “person” I would most like to commune with though would be my Lord, Jesus Christ.

What’s the most surprising thing people might not know about you?

The most surprising thing about me people don’t know won’t be revealed today, but something interesting I’m willing to share is that I make a really good batch of peanut brittle. It’s fantastic!

 

How To Maintain Safe Operation When Mowing Hills

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

If you own a property with steep hills, you know the challenges mowing and lawn care present. And when you add in walls, planters and other landscaping, and kids’ equipment such as trampolines, all of the sudden, mowing becomes akin to navigating an obstacle course. Which mower you choose for hills is an important factor in mowing your lawn safely and sustainably over time. In addition, taking the time to learn about all of the important safety features on your machine and how to safely navigate your mower on slopes and around obstacles is critical in helping prevent accidents.

Choose the Right Mower for Hilly Terrain

Exmark Lazer Z zero-turn riding mowers are the #1 choice of landscape professionals because of their unmatched ability to quickly and safely maintain a wide variety of properties. That said, zero-turn riding mowers should not be used on slopes of greater than 15 degrees, or a 26.8 percent grade. (Learn more about calculating slope and grade at EngineeringToolbox.com.) Maintain hills or surfaces with slopes of more than 15 degrees with a walk-behind mower or hand trimmer.

Mower safety -- mowing at the water's edge

A walk-behind mower is a better choice than any riding mower for cutting grass near drop-offs or retaining walls, or at the edge of ponds.

While it may be tempting to mow close to the edge of water or retaining walls with your zero-turn mower, doing so can result in significant injury or death if the machine were to roll over. It’s better to keep a safe distance from these hazards, and come back with a walk-behind mower to trim near the edge.

Please take a moment to watch these “Driving in the Safety Zone” videos, which Exmark produced to help you identify safety hazards and how to safely operate your Lazer Z in hilly or uneven terrain, or around walls, water and other lawn hazards:

Exmark Lazer Z Introduction and General Safety


Exmark Lazer Z Safe Mowing of Slopes and Rollover Protection

Exmark Lazer Z Controls and Operation:

View more safety and operator training videos on the Exmark YouTube channel.

Other Considerations

  • Use Protection: the rollover protection system (ROPS) on commercial mowing equipment should always be deployed in the full upright position during operation — along with the lap belt securely fastened low and tight around the operator’s waist. Failure to do either of these steps increases the risk of injury or death to the operator in a rollover situation.
  • Proper rollover protection use

    Always deploy the rollover protection system (ROPS) in the full-up position during operation (as shown). Never operate the mower with the ROPS down or partially-deployed.

    Moisture: avoid mowing hilly terrain when grass is wet from rain or dew. Not only is mowing wet grass sub-optimal for the turf itself, the reduced traction on wet grass increases the chances of your mower sliding on uneven terrain. Instead, wait until later in the day when the sun has burned the moisture off.

  • Unstable ground: survey the property and identify any ponds, drop-offs (pay particular attention to fence lines) and retaining walls to ensure the stability of the ground being mowed.

By taking a little time to understand the slope and terrain of your property, you can choose the right mower to maintain every inch of your lawn safely.

Learn more about safe mowing at Exmark.com.

Exmark at GIE+EXPO 2015

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

Exmark booth at GIE+EXPO 2015.

Each October, the Green Industry makes its pilgrimage to Louisville, Kentucky for the GIE+EXPO trade show. It’s at GIE+EXPO that next year’s new products are revealed, so the show is highly anticipated among outdoor power equipment dealers and landscape professionals alike.

The 2015  show took place October 21-23, and show-goers were treated to virtually perfect fall weather, with high temps in the 70s during the day encouraging folks to get to the outdoor booths for hands-on equipment demos.

Exmark Pioneer S-Series Rear Discharge

In-booth displays provided a unique perspective on the qualities that make Exmark mowers unique, such as the UltraCut Rear Discharge cutting deck on the 2016 Pioneer S-Series mower.

Exmark Stand-On Spreader Sprayer

The new Exmark Spreader Sprayer was a popular stop for landscape professionals looking to work more efficiently and make more money.

2015-10-22 11.49.05 HDR

One highlight of the outdoor Exmark booth was the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s mower roll-over safety display. It demonstrates the importance of proper deployment of the Roll Over Protection System (ROPS) in partnership with proper lap belt use in operator safety during a mower roll-over. Exmark has supported this industry-leading safety program since its inception.

Exmark booth during Lazer Z drawing

Hundreds of folks packed into the indoor Exmark booth Thursday afternoon during the show. Each was hoping to hear their name drawn to win the Exmark Lazer Z commercial zero-turn riding mower we gave away.

Exmark Lazer Z winner.

Exmark Director of Marketing, Daryn Walters, congratulates Heather M. of California, winner of the Exmark Lazer Z mower in the in-booth drawing.

Gifts for the Exmark Aficionado

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Looking for great gifts for a friend or family member that bleeds Exmark red? Or perhaps rewards for your hard working crew? You’re in luck! Exmark offers a wide variety of high quality branded clothing and gear that’s both stylish and practical. You can find Exmark gear online at the Exmark Apparel & Gift Store.

Popular Exmark branded clothing and gear includes:

Exmark Realtree Blaze Orange cap. Click on photo to go to the product page.

Exmark Realtree Blaze Orange cap: perfect for the outdoor enthusiast. Click photos to view the product pages.

Exmark Safety Glasses

Exmark Safety Glasses: durable, stylish eye protection.

Exmark Lazer Z X-Series replica

Exmark Lazer Z X-Series 1:24 scale die-cast replica: sure to be a hit with both the young and the young at-heart.

Exmark Tumbler

Exmark Soft Touch Tumbler: carry your coffee in style.

See all the Exmark clothing and gear that’s available today at the Exmark Apparel & Gift Store.

Mower Safety Tips

Sunday, July 19th, 2015


Exmark General Mower Safety Tips

  • Read and understand your operator’s manual before operating the mower.
  • Do not add gasoline to a running or hot engine and never leave the machine running in an enclosed area.
  • As with other power tools and equipment, do not operate a lawn mower when consuming alcohol.
  • Wear appropriate clothing – significant footwear, long pants, eye and hearing protection.
Safe mower operation

Safe operation of a zero-turn mower includes always mowing with the ROPS in the up position (if so equipped) and the lap belt fastened snug and low around the operator’s waist.

  • Pick up stones, toys and debris from the lawn to prevent injuries and damage from flying objects.
  • Never allow children to be passengers on ride-on mowers.
  • Keep children and pets a safe distance from the area you are mowing. Use extreme care near blind corners and around objects that may block you from seeing a child.
  • Do not operate without the grass catcher, discharge chute, or other safety devices in place and working.
  • Be careful when mowing slopes.
  • Do not mow in wet conditions.
  • Never mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary – carefully look for others behind you when you do.
  • Turn off the mower and wait for blade(s) to stop completely before leaving the mower, removing the grass catcher, picking up debris, or crossing gravel roads or paths.
  • Let the mower cool before refueling, cleaning and storing.
  • Follow all directions – including turning off the engine and disconnecting the spark plug or electric cord – before working on the mower or trying to unclog the discharge chute.

Learn more about safe operation of your mower at http://www.exmark.com/Service-And-Support/Safety-Resources/. View additional safety videos on the Exmark YouTube channel.