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7 Lawn Mower Safety Mistakes to Avoid

Posted By IAMU, Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Provided by EMC Insurance

Mowing grass is such a common activity that business managers may not realize it’s a skill workers need to be properly trained on before using company equipment. If your business falls into this category, just remember that Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also views lawn care as a work activity requiring workers to have proper training, safe equipment and the necessary personal protection equipment (PPE).

Because of the false assumption that all workers have the knowledge and skills to operate a mower safely, managers may assign anyone available to perform a mowing task. The supervisor may not take the time to verify that the worker knows the operation and safety precautions for the equipment they’ll use for the job.

And employees often do not stop to ask questions because they assume they know enough to handle the machine and the task. It’s also possible employees are afraid to admit they have doubts about their ability to handle the machine.

Safe Mowing Basics

In addition to proper training, safe operation of a mower consists of making sure the equipment is maintained and safe to use. Both components are necessary for a strong safety program.

Keep equipment in tip-top shape. This includes adhering to a maintenance schedule following all manufacturer’s instructions and ensuring that the roll over protection system (ROPS), guards, seat belts and shields are in place and secure.

Train all operators on the equipment and safety rules. This encompasses knowing how to handle the equipment and understanding safety features. But it also covers the basics of safe mowing (speed, inclines, stability, checking for hazards before starting the machine, etc.), proper apparel (a tight fit so nothing can be caught in the equipment) and PPE (heavy boots, safety goggles and hearing protection). Find more information and illustrations of proper and improper techniques in Mowing and Trimming Safely, an OSHA manual.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Check to be sure these mistakes aren’t popping up in your landscape:

  • Mowing slopes the wrong way. When using a riding mower, it is safer to go up and down hills than across slopes. The opposite is true when using a walk-behind mower.
  • Overriding safety mechanisms. Protections are in place and it’s not smart to disable the blade or disengage or discharge any other safety components.
  • Becoming lax on maintenance. Keep records of when and how the equipment is supposed to be cared for and document when the work is completed.
  • Underestimating equipment such as zero-turn mowers. It’s surprising how quickly these mowers zip along. Training and practice are important, especially for employees who have not worked with similar equipment in the past.
  • Failing to survey the area. Employees may know the area’s topography, but new sticks and other impediments may have popped up. Be sure employees are checking prior to and while mowing.
  • Skipping full PPE. Some mowers are quite loud so hearing protection is needed to prevent hearing loss. Eye protection is a critical component as an employee could hit a sharp stick or stone that can ricochet into an eye. Additionally, tree branches may swing into an employee’s face and cause an eye injury.
  • Incorrectly loading lawn care equipment. When moving landscape-care equipment in a truck from one job site to another, it’s important that mowers, weed eaters, rakes and other equipment are properly secured. You don’t want items to be damaged or to fly out of the vehicle during transport.

Tags:  EMC  Safety 

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A Note on Iowa DNR and COVID-19

Posted By IAMU, Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is working with state and local officials to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and has transitioned employees to work remotely. DNR offices are closed to the public during this time and only available by appointment.

In another effort to further reduce the spread of COVID-19, the DNR is encouraging the use of the online services for submitting applications, payments and other daily tasks and interaction with DNR staff.

Full list of DNR’s online services:

Up-to-date information on DNR services, facilities and events impacted by COVID-19:

Technical information for regulated businesses in regards to COVID-19:

We thank you for your patience and flexibility during this time. If you need to contact DNR staff you can reach them by email or phone or by calling 515-725-8200.

Tags:  COVID-19  iDNR 

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IAMU Webinars to Address Key Broadband Issues

Posted By IAMU, Thursday, March 26, 2020

It was obviously a disappointment that we had to cancel the IAMU Broadband Conference this month. We are working with the hotel to reschedule the conference, hopefully late this fall. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, we have decided to present two of the planned conference sessions as webinars, and we'd love to have you participate! These webinars are free of charge and do not require pre-registration. We will also be recording them for people who could not join us live.

"Regulatory Compliance Review"
Thursday, April 2, 2020


Jim Baller of Baller Stokes Lide PC will review the annual regulatory requirements that all telecommunications companies should be aware of, including the new "Truth-In-Billing" requirements that are set to go into effect this summer. Curtis Dean of IAMU/SmartSource Consulting will moderate the discussion. In addition to Jim's presentation you will also be able to text in your questions to (515) 236-5075 or use the chat function in the Zoom webinar platform.

"Retransmission Consent 2020"
Thursday, April 16, 2020

The next round of retransmission consent negotiations at the end of 2020 could be the most painful yet. TV stations are expected to ask for big increases in the fees they charge cable operators while continuing to crowd their broadcast frequency with digital subchannels of questionable value.

During this webinar, Curtis Dean will discuss the upcoming round of negotiations with Jean Edhlund, Video Products Partner with Cooperative Network Services in Minnesota. Jean is a familar name for many of us, having served as the primary contact for Fox Sports Networks for many years.  

The webinar is open to up to 100 participants on a first-come, first served basis. You will be able to log in the webinar waiting room up to 15 minutes before the start time to ensure a spot.

Feel free to share this email with anyone in your organization that we may have missed. 

Please contact Curtis Dean with any questions, (515) 650-0251 or

Tags:  Broadband  COVID-19  Webinar 

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Use of Half-Mask Respirators

Posted By IAMU, Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Over the past couple of days I have had several members asking about the feasibility of wearing half-mask respirators for protection against CoVid while picking up garbage, working at the wastewater plants and near lagoons and reading meters. Most do not have filtering face pieces, or commonly known as dust masks, available. Filtering face pieces, when worn properly, provide good respiratory protection against certain sizes of particulates. While OSHA’s respiratory protection standard (1910.134) does allow half masks to be worn on a voluntary basis, it requires the employee to be medically cleared before they are used. The filtering face piece type does not require that clearance because it does not tax the pulmonary system like a half mask. The questionnaire for the medical evaluation is Appendix C of 1910.134; this questionnaire is to be completed by the employee and a licensed health care provider will use this document to evaluate the employee’s capability to use the respirator. The employer must also provide the employee with Appendix D of 1910.134 when allowing the employee to wear respiratory protection on a voluntary basis. If you have any questions regarding respiratory protection, please call or email Margret Meade at or call 515.210.6617.

Tags:  COVID-19  OSHA  Respirators 

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MunEE Bucks Program Membership Streamlined for COVID-19 Effected Communities: Join today to start providing rebates online in just a few short days

Posted By IAMU, Tuesday, March 24, 2020


As conditions evolve from the impacts of COVID-19 your utility is focused on providing safe, reliable and affordable services to customers. IAMU remains committed to doing our part to help you deliver those services.

Through our MunEE Bucks Energy Efficiency Rebate Program we’ve recently created a streamlined implementation model that allows utilities to migrate your existing rebate program to the online MunEE Bucks portal within just a few short days. This ensures that despite office closures, reduced staffing and resources, you can continue to provide your customers access to money saving rebates when they need them most.
When you sign up for MunEE Bucks now, we will create a portal for you with up to 15 of the most popular MunEE Bucks standard rebates used by customers. Once this portal is online we will work with you over the next several weeks to add any additional MunEE Bucks rebates you would like, as well as implement any unique rebates your utility would  also like to offer.
To sign up, or for additional information, please contact Jeremy Caron at 515-289-1999 or

Tags:  COVID-19  Energy Efficiency  MunEE Bucks 

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