Focus on New Laws: Operation of Lawn Care Equipment by Minors

July 6, 2020

A new law removes restrictions prohibiting city employees who are 16 or 17 years old from operating power-driven machinery.

City employees who are at least 16 years of age may now operate lawn care equipment. Previously, minors were restricted from operating power-driven machinery.

A new law, Chapter 98, allows 16- and 17-year-olds to operate “lawn care equipment” (lawn trimmers, weed cutters, and machines, including riding lawn mowers, designed to cut grass and weeds) if hired to perform lawn care on golf courses, resort grounds, and municipal grounds. The legislation was signed by Gov. Tim Walz on May 27 and took effect May 28.

Safety and training requirements

The equipment must meet safety specifications of the American National Standards Institute/Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s  B71.1 2017 definition of pedestrian-controlled mowers and ride-on mowers.

Prior to operating lawn care equipment, the minor must be trained in the safe operation of each type of lawn care equipment they will be operating. The minor must also wear personal protective equipment, including but not limited to, safety glasses, hearing protection, gloves, safety vest, and work boots, as necessary, at all times when operating the lawn care equipment.

The city must ensure:

  • Minors follow all safety rules and instructions provided in the equipment’s operator manual, including prohibiting the operation of lawn care equipment on a slope greater than is recommended by the operator’s manual.
  • Required safety equipment is in place and operational on all lawn care equipment, including roll-over protection, seat belts, operator presence control systems, interlocks, guards, and shields.

For more information

Learn more about employment of minors and high school students in Chapter 2 of the League’s HR Reference Manual (page 70).