Commercial Best Practices

Stihl leaf blower

General Courtesy

  • Be aware of neighbors, pedestrians and others nearby. Some may have respiratory illness or allergies that could be triggered by flying dust and debris.
  • Be aware of surroundings. Do not use in close proximity to children playing, people reading, school groups gathering, or others nearby.
  • When using equipment do not point blower at people or pets.
  • Do not blow toward open windows or doors, and if possible, do not use within 10 feet of windows or doors.
  • Do not blow debris onto adjacent property, the street, catch basins, gutters, vehicles, people or pets.
  • Abide by time-of-day, day-of-week and seasonal of use restrictions. 
  • Adjust hours/times of use to accommodate residents, institutions, abutters (within time restrictions).

Sound Reduction 

  • Use portable leaf blowers rated 65 decibels or lower, as specified by manufacturer. 
  • Use at lowest possible speed/throttle to accomplish task 
  • Use longest possible nozzle for equipment. 
  • Orient nozzle to reduce sound. 
  • Check equipment regularly for proper operation (i.e. muffler, filters, motor).

Reduction of Dust/Particulate Matter 

  • Spray dusty areas with water before using blower. 
  • Use the full nozzle extension so that the air stream can work close to the ground. 
  • Do not use for construction dust, plaster dust or dry garden topsoil. 
  • Do not use blower to move large mounds of debris from one location to another. 
  • Use rakes or brooms to loosen heavier debris.

Environmental Use 

  • Use equipment that meets current (2006) EPA emissions standards for leaf blowers. 
  • Leaf blowers should be run at half throttle most of the time. Low throttle speeds not only significantly reduce noise but also provide operator with maximum control. 
  • Use equipment at lowest power level to accomplish job. 
  • Learn to control air velocity to lift leaves without lifting dust. 
  • Use rakes or brooms to loosen heavier debris.

Operator Training 

  • Provide training in proper use to all employees. 
  • Observe time of use restrictions (months/days/hours). 
  • Limit use of leaf blowers to no more than one within a lot of 10,000 square feet or smaller. 
  • Use rakes and brooms to supplement cleanup and to loosen debris from corners and edges. 
  • Develop/provide brochure on proper use - post on website, provide in workplace, make print versions available to public (e.g. English, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole).
  • Do not use in close proximity to children playing, people reading, school groups gathering, or others nearby. 
  •  When using equipment do not point blower at people or pets. 
  • Do not blow toward open windows or doors, and if possible, do not use within 10 feet of windows or doors. 
  • Do not blow debris onto adjacent property, the street, catch basins, gutters, vehicles, people or pets. 
  • Abide by time-of-day, day-of-week and seasonal of use restrictions. 
  • Adjust hours/times of use to accommodate residents, institutions, abutters (within time restrictions).

Worker Safety

  • Leaf blower operators will be provided with ear protection and will be offered eye protection and face masks.
    Operator Training 
  • Provide training in proper use to all employees. 
  • Observe time of use restrictions (months/days/hours). 
  • Limit use of leaf blowers to no more than one within a lot of 10,000 square feet or smaller. 
  • Use rakes and brooms to supplement cleanup and to loosen debris from corners and edges. 
  • Develop/provide brochure on proper use - post on website, provide in workplace, make print versions available to public (e.g. English, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole).

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Dept of Public Works

147 Hampshire St
Cambridge MA 02139

Phone:617.349.4800
TDD:617.499.9924

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Tuesday-Thursday: 8:30am-5pm
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