OT: Lawnmower operator presence control

Hi folks,
I'm hoping someone here can answer a legal question for me, as I can't find the answer online. A friend told me recently that if you have a
lawnmower, and pay someone to use it, it must be fitted with an operator presence control. That is, one of those levers you have to hold onto, and if you let go of it the engine stops. Personally I find them an annoyance. Does anyone know if this is true?
Many thanks,
Chris
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On Sat, 02 Aug 2008 08:33:35 +0000, Christopher Tidy

Is it a 'must' or a 'should'? I thought it was only applicable if you wanted to conform to the standard - I'm not sure it's a requirement?

<snip>
I'm inclined to think it's more about which bored bureaucrat could be bothered to do any 'work' on any given day.

The better ones have a bar that sits above the handle - at least you then have the weight of your hands in play. Where I see models fitted with a dead man's handle at the local tip, there's nearly always a plant tie attached to the handle - so I think it's a fairly common annoyance.
Regards,
--
Stephen Howard - Woodwind repairs & period restorations
www.shwoodwind.co.uk
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On Sat, 02 Aug 2008 03:34:06 +0000, Christopher Tidy

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article3428410.ece
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wrote:

Ouch. I wonder if the mower was a Japanese model...would have made a great headline...
Handa Hunda Honda.
Could have had almost a full house if he'd been a Hindu.
Regards,
--
Stephen Howard - Woodwind repairs & period restorations
http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk
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Whether it is obligatory to have such a cut-out I don't know. What is fairly certain is that should you employ somebody to use that mower with the cut-out deliberately disabled, then you would be guilty of wilful neglect of that person's safety and therefore liable to pay compensation in the event of injury.
Like most people I regard it as a damn nuisance and tie it up with a plant tie. The one on my hedge trimmer is even worse because it incorporates a brake with a powerful spring, making it ridiulously heavy to hold up, and tiring on the fingers to clench both triggers.
Cliff Coggin.
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Cliff Coggin wrote:

What I was talking about is a mower which never had one in the first place. Anyway, it's just a matter of curiousity for the moment. It's hypothetical.
Best wishes,
Chris
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moray wrote:
<snip>

While I have yet to contact the local H. & S. office (I do intend to), I came across something interesting today. I was looking at a brochure for the latest Dennis lawnmowers. None of their most expensive machines have an operator presence control, but the cheaper ones do.
Presumably this means that it is not a legal requirement. It also suggests that professional groundsmen know that the feature is annoying!
Best wishes,
Chris
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much as

things.
to), I

for
have
annoying!
Difference may be intention for trained operators on the professional kit, and the unwashed public on the cheaper stuff.
AWEM
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Has every zone, area & village now got a local friendly H & S office? Just like catholic countries have local priests overseeing our every move So big brother does exist. Alan
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I'm guessing the more expensive ones require you to pull a lever to engage the blade though...
It's not a requirement for the operator presence control to stop the engine. It just has to stop any cutting blades. You can buy Honda mowers that work by disengaging drive to the blade, but they are more expensive, as they obviously require a good few more components.
moray
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Christopher Tidy wrote:

For the record, I'm going to note here that I was mistaken. The most expensive machines do have an operator presence control.
Sad, really, as it'll make them a pain to use.
Best wishes,
Chris
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moray wrote:

Thanks for suggesting that I contact the HSE. I have now had a response from them, and I thought I would share it here for the benefit of others.
There is no specific legal requirement in the UK that a lawnmower be fitted with an operator presence control. However they also referred me to the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. The gist of these regulations is that the employer must select equipment with care in order to reduce or eliminate risks to the health and safety of their employees.
Based on these regulations, a good lawyer could probably construct an argument either for or against an operator presence control. It could be argued that it has few negative effects, and therefore is a worthwhile added safety feature. But it could alternatively be argued (in my view more convincingly) that the feature is a nuisance, increases operator fatigue, provides a false sense of security, is very rarely used to stop the engine for safety reasons, and is a feature commonly omitted from larger, more dangerous machines.
In the end I am left with the gut feeling that it is much more important for the employer to choose his operator carefully than to ensure his machine is fitted with an operator presence control. While the following quote is a bit frivolous, I believe it's appropriate here:
"You can't idiot proof anything; every time you try, they just make better idiots."
I forget who the quote comes from.
Thanks for the advice.
Best wishes,
Chris
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Christopher Tidy wrote:

I'm still waiting for MY lawnmower to come back after the gearbox associated with the 'operator presence control' failed after 2 months ( 5 or 6 uses ). It's taken 10 weeks so far and no sign of it coming back soon so I've asked the Credit Card company to refund us. I think I've said before about 90% of equipment failures being due to the built in test equipment that is supposed to make things more reliable. Strip all the crap, keep it simple and you will be much better of :)
And if anybody is thinking about a new lawnmower - don't bother with Mowerland :(
--
Lester Caine - G8HFL
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Lester Caine wrote:

Just out of interest, what is the make and model of your mower?
Some pieces of electronics have made machines more reliable during their intended lifetimes. Modern car engines start more reliably in cold weather than most old engines, for example. But all added complexity, especially electronics, compromises the long term maintainability of a product.
In 50 years time, are people going to be collecting the lawnmowers and engines made today? I think few people will be interested, because they aren't the exemplary pieces of workmanship that they used to be.
Best wishes,
Chris
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Christopher Tidy wrote:

MOWERLAND ML18SP SELF PROPELLED PETROL MOWER

In this case I think the continual stopping and starting of the motor has stressed the 90deg gearbox that takes power from the engine to drive the rear wheel. It had just seized solid, and one would have to dismantle the 'operator presence control' to get the belt off to make it a simple push along.
On the aspect of 'ealth and safety' - I think I will probably do more damage to my back having to restart the engine every time a empty the basket. Which can be 30 or 40 times each session :(

Examples of how not to do things in future :)
--
Lester Caine - G8HFL
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Lester Caine wrote:
<snip>

Looks typical of so many modern mowers.
<snip>

Well, I certainly hope that will be the case. But it'll require buyers who demand better quality and manufacturers who have the skill to provide it.
Best wishes,
Chris
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