Attendees of the Vermont Local Roads Tractor-Mower Training Workshop in Marshfield step outside to take a closer look at a tractor-mower and discuss the days topics.

Vermont Local Roads recently held two tractor-mowing training workshops in Marshfield and Thetford as the summer mowing season gets underway around the state. In our June newsletter that will be mailed and available online next week, the following mower safety tips are listed:

  • Before starting any mower, make sure it is completely lubricated, adjusted and checked for loose nuts and bolts. Check the chain guard and other mower covers intended to keep debris from being thrown.
  • Replace broken or missing debris guards immediately; don’t operate a mower without them. A small rock or pieces of cans and bottles become dangerous projectiles when launched by a mower. Cover all v-belts, drive chains and power take-off shafts.
  • Shut off power before checking any mower before changing or sharpening a blade. Any blade being reinstalled should be checked for cracks or damage that will lead to failure.
  • Avoid mowing with a regular unit on slopes that rise or fall away more than one foot in 2.5 feet of horizontal distance. Use a side-mounted mower or a boom and keep that tractor unit on the gently sloped surface.
  • Operate side-mounted or boom mower units on the uphill side of the tractor, where possible, to further diminish the possibility of overturning.
  • Raise mowers when crossing driveways and roadways.
  • Face oncoming traffic as much as possible when mowing around hazard markers, signs and guardrails near the edge of the roadway to watch for out-of-control vehicles.
  • Place a Slow Moving Vehicle sign (reflective triangle) on the rear of tractors. Use rotating yellow beacons on the tractors and install yellow flashers on the roll bar or top of the tractor cab. Operate the flashers at all times. Install an orange pennant on a whip to show the location of the tractor over the edge of slopes. Use the tractor’s headlights at all times.
  • Wear hearing protection and a safety vest. Wear a hard hat and safety goggles to protect yourself from branches and flying debris. Wear leather gloves and boots that have hard toes and soles.

Remember equipment safety and overall safety on the job can never be overlooked.

Look for more frequent updates to this blog  from Vermont Local Roads. Our list serve is now operational after being down for a number of months. If you would like to join the over 140 list serve subscribers, go to our website:, click on the “Resources” menu, then select “Listserv.” Directions for sign-up will follow.

Hope everyone has a good July 4th holiday!


About vtlocalroads

The Vermont Local Roads Program at Saint Michael’s College is part of the Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP), a nationwide effort financed jointly by the Federal Highway Administration and individual State Departments of Transportation. Its purpose is to provide road and bridge know-how to municipal people involved with highways. There are LTAP Centers in 50 states and Puerto Rico and six Native American locations. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations presented on this page are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of FHWA, VAOT or Saint Michael’s College. All references to proprietary items in this publication are not endorsements of any company or products. Sponsored by the Vermont Agency of Transportation, the Vermont Local Roads Program provides information, training and technical assistance to cities, towns and villages in Vermont. This is done by newsletters, seminars and workshops, distribution of publications and by response to requests.
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