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CPSC Seeks Offerors To Develop Mandatory Power Mower Safety Standards

Release Date: July 18, 1974

In a notice to be published July 22, in the Federal Register, the Commission will initiate proceedings for the development of mandatory Federal safety regulations by inviting outside parties to offer to develop standards or to submit any existing standards for Commission consideration.

According to Commission injury reports, power lawn mowers and garden tractors were associated with an estimated 60,500 injuries requiring hospital emergency room care between July 1, 1972, and June 30, 1973.

In-depth investigations of accidents reveal that serious injuries have resulted from operator contact with the rotating blade, objects propelled by the mower blades, mower instability-- rolling, slipping or overturning, failures of the power mower brakes or steering mechanisms, contact with exposed heated surfaces, and fires caused by spillage of liquid fuels used for mowers. Other serious injuries have been associated with electric shock from electric mowers or electric power sources and from exposure to excessive noise.

The Commission's decision that a standard was needed to reduce or eliminate unreasonable risks of injury came in response to the hazards revealed by injury data and to a petition requesting Commission action.

On August 15, 1973, the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) petitioned the Commission to develop consumer product safety rules for power mowers and to adopt a voluntary industry standard issued by the American National Standards Institute. The Commission granted the first request but did not accept the voluntary standard as a proposed consumer product safety rule.

An offeror may be any individual, association, established or ad hoc group. A successful offeror must be judged technically competent to manage and direct the standards development process.

Regardless of who is chosen, standards development activities must be open to the participation of interested parties, including consumers, consumer organizations, representatives of industry, government and the scientific and academic communities. Offerors must include a plan and method by which interested persons will be able to participate.

Offers must be received in the Office of the Secretary of the Commission by August 21, 1974.

The offeror or offerors selected will have 150 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register to prepare proposed safety rules unless the Commission determines that a different length of time is appropriate.

The detailed Federal Register notice will include information about injuries, existing standards, and procedures to be followed when submitting an existing standard, preparing an offer or seeking a financial contribution from the Commission to assist development of a more satisfactory standard.

The Commission states in the notice that a contribution to costs will be the exception rather than the rule, and it expects that the bulk of work will be done by volunteers or funded by non-Commission sources.

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About the U.S. CPSC
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years. 

Federal law prohibits any person from selling products subject to a Commission ordered recall or a voluntary recall undertaken in consultation with the CPSC.

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