Power lawn mowers are associated with an estimated 60,500 injuries that require hospital emergency room treatment each year. Preliminarily finding that they pose unreasonable risks of injury to consumers, the Commission on July 22 invited any person or group to submit an existing standard for Commission consideration or to volunteer to develop a standard that could be proposed by the Commission as a mandatory Federal safety standard.
Consumers Union, a non-profit organization that publishes the monthly Consumer Reports, was among the four groups that submitted an offer to develop standards. Two other groups submitted existing standards to the Commission.
Consumers Union stated that it will rely on two Special Area Committees to develop a recommended standard--the Rotating Blade Committee and the Power Unit and Control Systems Committee. These committees will address the particular hazards that have been identified with serious injuries, including operator contact with the rotating blade, danger of propelled objects, tipping over of mowers, hot surfaces and electric shock.
Consumers Union's offer specifies that all interested persons who would like to participate in the standards development activities may attend meetings as members of the Full Committee or participate through correspondence as a member of an Advisory and Review Group which will receive copies of all drafts and reports for review.
A subgroup of the Full Committee known as the Central Committee will coordinate the activities of the two Special Area Committees. Representatives of consumer organizations, the power lawn mower industry, general interest groups, and other consumers have been chosen by Consumers Union to serve on the two area committees and on the Central Committee, but all meetings will be open to the public.
Consumers Union will have until December 19 to prepare a recommended standard for presentation to the Commission. However, the Commission may extend the development period for good cause.
The Commission has agreed to contribute $66,745 to Consumers Union to cover administrative costs, consumer travel and per diem. Another $25,000 has been placed in a contingency fund for possible machine shop expenses and testing.
Anyone who would like to receive notice of power mower standards development meetings or to participate in the development activities should contact Mr. Bertram Strauss, Project Manager, 256 Washington Street, Mt. Vernon, New York 10550.
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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