OPEI recommends safe mowing methods for slopes

With the mowing season soon in full force, the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) outlined some safety procedures to keep in mind when mowing on slopes and inclines.

This article was originally published in Landscapemanagement.net

“If you are using your lawn mower on a slope, it is very important that you pay attention to the terrain, be vigilant of risks and know how to fully operate your mower,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI. “These best practices can help lawn mower operators avoid potential mishaps.”

Steep slopeThe safety tips are as follows. 

1. Exercise caution.

Operating any mower on a slope requires extra caution. Slopes are a major factor related to loss of control and tip over accidents, which can result in severe injury.

2. Use the right equipment for the task.

Don’t select a product that may be too small or unsuitable for the job. Ask in the comments below or your dealer for assistance.

3. Know how to operate your mower.

Read the operator’s manual to understand the controls. Know how to stop your mower quickly and disengage the controls.

4. Survey the terrain.

Watch for holes, ruts, bumps, rocks or other hidden objects.  Uneven terrain could overturn the machine. Tall grass can hide obstacles.

5. Be vigilant.

Be vigilant of risks, especially when operating on a slope.  On a slope there is a risk of slip and slide resulting in a loss of control. Be aware of the risks of rolling backward, dropping off a wall or bank and the potential to overturn into a water hazard.

Want to know more? Mowing Slopes Safely – Let’s Get Real About Hills.

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Hi Paul! I have a grass-cutting dilemma. We just moved into a new house that sits on a 1.3 acre hillside, with 1 acre of grass that needs cut. I’ve always used self-propelled mowers in the past and I’ve never even been on a tractor. However, trying to cut an acre of hill with a 21″ lawn mower takes waaaay too long (not to mention the blisters on my feet), so I’ve been looking into purchasing a tractor. While researching, I came across your site and noticed that you mention all over the place that you shouldn’t use a tractor… Read more »

Harrod Stiles
Harrod Stiles

Hi Paul, We are looking for a mower. Last night, I stumbled upon your web page “do you really need a zero turn mower” and I was up until 2AM reading. Lots of great information. Thank you for your time and sharing your expertise. You will see the mowers we are considering are based on your information. Here’s my situation. Mowing close to 2 acres, mostly slopes. Generally, our property is sloped 13 degrees with quite a bit at 17 and some at 20 & 23. We would like to have a mower that will handle our terrain, haul w/cart,… Read more »


Hi Paul, Next month I was going to purchase either a Exmark Quest or comparable Toro Time Cutter until I read your article, thank you. I live in north east PA. I have a flat one acre with six trees, a deck and 2 small landscaped islands to negotiate. My main objective is to spend less time mowing and spend more time with my children. I currently have a 28″ push mower. Most of my neighbors bought John Deere lawn tractors at Lowes and two already required parts to be replaced. I would rather spend $2,000, but we can afford… Read more »

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