It’s mowing season once again, and if you’re using a mower of any kind, it’s also a good time to review some safety points. From the tractor you use with your flex-wing to personal protective equipment (PPE) to knowing your surroundings, many factors regarding safety start with the operator. Here are just a few important safety precautions you should be taking with your flex-wing.
The Right Equipment
Rhino Ag’s TS12 Stealth Flex-Wing, designed specifically for customers with smaller tractors, features chain guards for added safety.
Before you even hook up your flex-wing, make sure to read and understand its operating manual as well as know the ins and outs of the tractor you’re hooking it up to. Only use tractors with an approved rollover protection structure (ROPS). When used with a seatbelt, the ROPS greatly reduces the risk of dying or being seriously injured if the tractor does roll over.
You should also ensure that your tractor and flex-wing are always maintained. This not only reduces the risk of an accident, but it increases the life of your equipment. If you do notice something that needs repaired, do so immediately. And if this happens while you’re mowing, make sure the tractor and flex-wing are completely shut down. The rotating parts of the flex-wing continue to rotate even after the PTO has been turned off, so stay in the tractor seat for 60 seconds after the brake has been set, the PTO disengaged, the tractor turned off, and all the moving parts have stopped.
When maintaining or running the tractor and/or flex-wing, always wear PPE, including a hard hat, safety shoes, safety glasses with shields, and hearing protection. In addition, don't wear loose clothing, tie up long hair, and take off all jewelry. Any of these items can get entangled in the tractor or flex-wing.
Do not go over the rated PTO speed for the flex-wing, because doing so can cause the flex-wing’s driveline or blades to fail.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
If you don’t know the area you will be mowing, do a thorough walkthrough.
During this walkthrough, remove objects like wire, cable, rope, or chains that can become entangled in the operating parts of the mower head. Move anything that can shoot out of the mower, and identify and mark anything that can’t be moved. Also be aware of utility and municipal obstructions; clearly mark these areas and contact local utility providers for a safe code of operations.
Do not use the flex-wing in an area with bees or other stinging insects unless your tractor has an enclosed cab or you have clothing to cover you head to toe from insects. This is a situation that can cause you to lose control of the tractor, which not only endangers you but bystanders as well.
And yes, you should also keep an eye out for bystanders. When using your flex-wing above ground level, if anyone is within 100 yards away, stop the blades from turning when the mower is raised.
Choose a Flex-Wing with Built-In Safety Features
Flex-wing manufacturers like Rhino Ag are always looking for ways to make equipment safer. Some safety features to look for in a flex-wing include:
• Rubber or chain guards to prevent debris from flying out.
• Safety chain to keep the flex-wing securely attached to the tractor.
• LED lights to ensure your mower is always visible.
Although manufacturers will always have a commitment to safety, it’s important that you have that same commitment.