Where grounds staff or school officers have advised the principal of any hazard or potential hazard like broken or faulty equipment, it’s essential that risk assessment, repair and/or replacement is organised as efficiently as possible.
Some equipment suppliers can assist schools with preparing equipment maintenance plans such as scheduled services to reduce the need for emergency replacements and increase longevity.
This is particularly important in Australia, given the increasingly severe weather events we now face. Flooding, drought, and bushfires all wreak havoc on school grounds and bringing your green spaces in particular back to baseline can require some heavy machinery.
For schools purchasing new mowers or tractors, commercial grade equipment is essential for this reason. There are also different attachments and add-ons available that can ease workload, bolster safety, and allow machinery to be used for additional tasks, which vary depending on the particular landscaping requirements of each school.
Commercial grade machines, whether they are small tractors or ride on mowers or push mowers, benefit from improved ergonomics and more powerful engines than those designed for domestic use. Another benefit of higher quality equipment and effective long-term equipment maintenance is that it can reduce the amount of hand-arm vibration experienced by the user, which over time can lead to physical injury.
Industry insights: schools purchasing new equipment
“Having the correct equipment for the job is the most important thing to consider” when looking for ways to support grounds staff, affirms Stanley Black & Decker’s Product and Business Development Manager for Australia and New Zealand, Tony Scott.
“Not having commercial grade equipment can cause the grounds staff to have to work harder and longer to complete a job. So, before making a purchase on new equipment, have someone come out to the school and grounds where the equipment is going to be used and put the equipment to the test to make sure it does the complete job. Not only on the ovals and around the buildings, but on the slopes around the grounds.”
When choosing specific products, he said: “There are many types of machines needed for different situations. Schools may need a zero-turn 60+ inch mower for the big spaces to maintain and then a smaller machine for around the buildings or high profile areas. This could be in the way of a smaller ride-on or a zero-turn.
“I do not feel there is one machine that can do all areas of a school.”
What are the common pitfalls schools face when choosing their grounds equipment? He explained: “The biggest mistake I see all schools do is not budgeting enough money for the correct type of equipment they need. Schools try to buy equipment to fit into their budget and this can cause them to purchase the incorrect equipment, which leads to higher repair costs as the machines in most cases are domestic machines not meant to be used daily.
“I always say, you can buy a hatchback and use it to tow a 21ft caravan, but it will not last too long!”