FALCONER - Thanks to impractical federal regulations, taxpayers in the village of Falconer spent an additional $3,000 on a riding mower.
Sam Ognibene, Falconer public works superintendent, said two riding mowers he purchased last year needed to be replaced because of needless OSHA regulations. After buying two 26-horsepower riding mowers that didn't have rollover protection, Ognibene was cited by state officials who enforce the federal regulation.
According to Ognibene, the federal rule is any riding mower used by municipal employees that has more than a 20-horsepower engine needs a bar to protect the rider in case of a rollover incident.
A John Deere tractor with rollover protection used by the Falconer Public Works Department. Because of federal regulations, Sam Ognibene, Falconer public works superintendent, needed to spend an additional $3,000 on the mowing tractor with rollover protection.
P-J photo by
''The law is set up for larger tractors, not riding mowers used for mowing a park or what people use at home to mow their lawn,'' he said. ''The regulations are outdated and don't apply to everything. Someone needs to look at the law and revise it.''
In order to be in compliance of the law, Ognibene needed to trade in his two 26-horsepower mowers for two new tractors. One tractor is an 18-horsepower riding lawn mower and the second tractor has an engine greater than 20-horsepower, therefore, needing a rollover protection bar.
Ognibene said when he traded in the two mowers that violated regulations for the two new tractors that comply, he had to spend an additional $3,000.
''We're not the only municipality being hit by this,'' he said. ''These type of regulations add up to cost a lot of money for all municipalities. It doesn't make sense to me. It is an added expense that is unnecessary.''
The public works supervisor said he needed to buy a tractor with more than 20-horsepower because it is faster, which helps municipal officials fulfill regular mowing duties in village parks and cemeteries. Also, now the tractor with rollover protection takes up more space which makes mowing more difficult.
''These bigger mowers are harder to use in parks and cemeteries when trying to mow around headstones and other objections,'' he said.
Ognibene said he has contacted officials in Albany and state Sen. Catharine Young, R-C-I-Olean, but said nothing can be done by state officials because it is a federal OSHA regulation.