New standards for mowers

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recently published revised voluntary safety standards for consumer and commercial lawn mowers, the result of a 5-year review. Development of the standards was led by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI).

“We are the ANSI Standards Development Organization for the outdoor power equipment, small engine and utility vehicle sectors,” said Kris Kiser, President and CEO of OPEI. “Industry consensus building and feedback are a critical part of this process, and I’d like to thank everyone who participated.”

On April 6, ANSI published ANSI/OPEI B71.1-2017, the “American National Standard for Consumer Turf Care Equipment – Pedestrian-Controlled Mowers and Ride-On Mowers – Safety Specifications.” The 14th edition standard first published in 1960 revises the 2012 edition of the standard.

On April 24, ANSI also published ANSI/OPEI B71.4-2017, the “American National Standard for Commercial Turf Care Equipment – Safety Specifications.” The 6th edition standard first published in 1980 revises the 2012 edition of the standard.

OPEI utilizes ANSI’s “canvass method” to solicit public stakeholder review and comment on its standards proposals.

“When standards are submitted to ANSI for approval, we are required to provide evidence that the standards were developed under an open process that give everyone an opportunity to express their views,” said Kiser. “We also have to demonstrate that these views have been carefully considered in how we structure the standard.”

The standards, as with all OPEI proposed (ANSI) standards, are approved, published and sold by ANSI through their online publications store at The standards are sold to the general public for $180 and for $144 to full ANSI members.

Kiser says that OPEI is also now working toward bringing the first-ever North American robotic lawn mower standard to the marketplace. “It’s challenging and complex technology, and we have an ever- expanding group of manufacturers in this arena – from industry stalwarts to up and coming start-ups. OPEI’s battery and electrics committee is leading the charge as our industry continues to innovate.”

OPEI is hopeful the new robotics standard will be published later this year.