We recently discussed how, for some industries, labels are a mandatory part of doing business. Specifically, we covered product safety and warning labeling requirements as set out by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI) Standard Z535.4 (2008), or the Product Safety Signs and Labels Standard.
The American National Standard Institute (ANSI) is responsible for ensuring safety standards for thousands of products in nearly every business sector. The ANSI mission is to enhance both the global competitiveness of U.S. business and the U.S. quality of life by promoting and facilitating voluntary consensus standards and conformity assessment systems, and safeguarding their integrity. These standards are put forth on everything from heavy duty, large farming and construction` equipment to the lawnmower you use to cut the grass in your backyard.
This article will take an in-depth look at ANSI B71.1-4, which covers warning and safety labels standards for the Outdoor Power Equipment Industry. Both riding and walk behind lawnmowers are covered under ANSI B71.1-4 (2003), which are voluntary labeling standards ensuring that the product is safe and proper warnings are labeled and displayed to ensure proper use and functionality of the machine. A lawnmower (both walk-behind and riding) that meets ANSI standards is ensured:
- Operator presence control. This is a security or safety mechanism that will halt the blades if the machinist leaves the control position of lawnmower without first shutting off the blade drive.
- Seatbacks have been raised on riding lawnmowers, now most lawnmowers have at least 4 1/2 inches to help the ensure that the operator maintains a safe position while using the machine.
- To improve the lawnmowers stability, dynamic turn and traction limits have been put in place to help with performance
- Riding lawnmowers since the year 2003 have implemented a safety feature that shuts off the blade to the mower while the machine is in reverse. This Feature is very important in helping to prevent major injuries and also ensures that the blade will not be moving when the machine is in reverse allowing safety for the operator of the mower and everyone else that could be around.
OPEI, a trade organization whose member companies manufacture more than 95 percent of the power lawn and garden equipment on the market, actually led to the development of ANSI B71.1. Equipment that complies with ANSI B71.1 will carry an OPEI decal certifying compliance. This OPEI decal is your proof that the equipment you are considering complies with the latest industry standard and has been certified by an independent testing company.
Every year thousands of people are injured while operating lawnmowers and even some fatalities were recorded due to lawnmower accidents. That is why warning signs are posted to keep hands and feet away from blades, only allow adults to operate the machinery, make sure all objects are picked up and away from the blade. Even warnings about operating only in the daylight and when sober are noted. The ANSI B71.1-4 offers important warnings and standards for all outdoor power equipment and these labels, warnings and instructions are set in place to prevent injury and to make sure that these operating machines are used properly and are safe. So when you are in the market for a new lawnmower, whether it be walk-behind or riding, or any other outdoor power equipment, make sure that it meets all of the ANSI B71.1-4 label standards and requirements.