Believe it or not, landscaping is one of the most hazardous industries in the service sector. With a fatality rate eight times higher than other industries, all landscaping workers and employers need to know how to stay safe on-the-job.
3 Major Types of Dangerous Landscaping Work Injuries
1) Slips and Trips
Slips and trips occur in many different types of landscaping work.
Tree trimming and pruning has the highest fatality rate in the industry. Non-fatal injuries, such as contact with objects and equipment and falls from elevation, are also common.
For example, in California 26 tree trimmers died on-the-job between 2012 and 2015. These fatalities were caused by incidents like falls from elevation.
In New Jersey, a new law, known as the Tree Expert and Tree Care Operators Licensing Act, was passed that requires at least one person in each company that performs tree-care services to be licensed. It also requires New Jersey businesses that perform tree-care work to document worksite training.
2) Heat Illness
Since landscapers work outside, they spend a lot of time in the sun during the warm weather seasons. As a result, they are exposed to several risk factors that could result in heat-related work injuries.
- High air temperatures and humidity
- Direct sun exposure
- Physical exertion
A lack of sun safety precautions can potentially lead to serious health issues, like heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat rash.
The tools used in landscaping work are another major risk factor. Amputations of the fingers, hands and even toes and feet can happen regularly. These accidents can result in permanent disability and even death.
Amputations occur in several different ways, including getting a foot caught in a mower; having a hand pulled into a wood chipper; or slicing a finger with a chain saw.
How to Make Injury Prevention a High Priority
Contracting businesses can reduce the amount of employee injuries by establishing a strong culture of safety.
2 Ways to Encourage Safety in the Workplace
- Make sure everyone knows safety is a top priority
- Reinforce the message through training and education
Once you make safety a priority company-wide, you will also need a consistent enforcement policy. For example, personal protective equipment should be required for all workers. Your safety program will be most effective if you can receive the participation of your whole crew.
Encourage your landscaping workers to wear appropriate clothing and personal protective equipment, including sturdy boots, long-sleeved shirts and pants and gloves.
Ultimately, employers are responsible for creating a safe environment for their workforce. For contractors, safety is an ongoing process. In addition to creating an in-depth safety program, you could also conduct short daily or weekly safety training. By implementing a company-wide safety initiative, you will be helping your landscaping company grow stronger.