One of the biggest dangers when mowing the lawn or doing yardwork is the possibility of a rollover when you are using a riding mower or garden tractors. Particularly with articulating machines or on hills, unstable machinery can roll and in the operator, causing injury or fatality. Many riding mowers, lawn tractors, garden tractors, and full-sized farming tractors now come with rollover protection structures as standard equipment to help protect from this likelihood.
But what exactly is a rollover protection structure, do you need such a structure for your riding equipment, how does it work, and should you bother installing one on an older piece of equipment that doesn’t have one?
What is a Rollover Protection Structure?
A rollover protection structure is a frame that is attached to the frame of a tractor or is part of an integral cab. They come as two-post fixed, two-post foldable, four-post fixed, or integrated cab. They are generally steel tubes attached to a frame that attaches to the lawn mower underneath an existing seating position.
How Does a Rollover Protection Structure Work?
These structures create a frame that makes it harder for the tractor to turn over further than 90 degrees, and even if it does manage a full rollover, the frame creates enough space that a user that is properly belted in will not be pinned.
Do I Need a Rollover Protection Structure?
As a safety feature, there’s nothing else that can protect against the inherent dangers of operating a riding mower or lawn tractor. If you are operating a mower or tractor in a professional capability, OSHA regulations dictate that you must install a Rollover Protection Structure on your equipment. This is particularly important for landscapers, so as to avoid fines and injury to their workers.
Should I Install an Aftermarket Structure on my Tractor?
It’s difficult to recommend not taking all possible safety precautions, but if you have a mower or tractor with a low center of gravity, and you are not using it on rough terrain or on hills, it may not be worth installing an aftermarket structure.
What Type of Rollover Structure Should I Get?
This depends on the usage of the tractor and the environment it will be used in, as well as the size of the unit itself. A smaller tractor or riding mower will only need a two-post structure. If you will be mowing in areas where there may be low clearances, a structure that can fold down is your best bet. In all other cases, a fixed structure is best. For larger, heavier garden tractors that can gain more momentum in a rollover, a four-post system will provide better prevention and better safety for the operator.
So be safe when you are operating your riding mower or garden tractor, and take this safety structure into consideration.