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More than 912,000 people in the U.S. are employed as landscapers or groundskeepers. Landscaping is a dangerous profession. Heat, power tools, sharp instruments, and repetitive work can all lead to painful and sometimes debilitating workplace injuries. Here are some things you need to keep in mind during the busy summer season.
Common injuries for landscapers include cuts, punctures, and amputations. Power equipment like mowers, blowers, trimmers, cutting blades, trenchers, and tillers have rotating and cutting parts that can cause these severe injuries. Read instructions and get training on each specific model of equipment you use. It’s important that landscapers keep their tools sharp. A dull blade is far more dangerous than a sharp one because the user must exert a lot more force to get the job done. Keeping hand tools in good working order can also help protect landscapers from repetitive-stress injuries.
Before attempting to fix or clear a jam from a power tool or mower, make sure that the power supply is turned off and all the blades have stopped moving completely before you put your hands in the equipment. Inspect equipment before each use to ensure that guards and safety switches work properly – never bypass these features.
To avoid trips and falls, consider the conditions you’re working in. Grass clippings, wet spots, bad lighting, chemical spills, and electrical cords or hoses on paths are all things that can lead to slip and trip injuries. Preventing injuries can be as simple as paying close attention to conditions and putting equipment back where it belongs.
Use personal protective equipment (PPE) and proper clothing on the job. Sturdy work boots protect your feet from heavy equipment, cutting blades, and dropped landscape materials. Gloves protect your hands from blisters, splinters, scratches, cuts, and punctures from tools, rough landscaping materials, and plants. Safety glasses and/or face shields that are impact resistant protect your eyes from flying objects and chemicals. Use UV protective lenses outdoors. Ear plugs or earmuffs protect your hearing from loud equipment.
Clothing in a high-visibility color makes you more visible to traffic in roads, parking lots, and your coworkers. Do not wear loose-fitting or torn clothing that may become entangled in moving equipment. Wear lightweight long pants and long-sleeved shirts to help protect against both ultraviolet radiation (UV), and ticks or other insects. Know the first aid for bug and snake bites, watch these areas for infection, and get follow-up medical care when needed. Wear a wide brim hat that covers your ears and protects your nose and neck from the sun and bugs. Apply insect repellant and sunscreen to exposed areas of skin.
Be aware of expected weather conditions for the day, and plan accordingly. Have plans about where to go if severe weather hits. Know where to seek shelter in a thunderstorm, such as fully enclosed metal vehicles, with windows up or a building (not sheds).
With the materials and equipment that are part of their jobs, landscape workers are exposed to various safety accidents every day. Many of these accidents can lead injuries that in turn result in lifelong disabilities. However, by following the proper protocols, landscape worker safety can easily and effectively be maintained.
Gulfshore Insurance is a Naples, Florida based insurance agency specializing in business insurance including liability insurance, property insurance, workers compensation insurance, vehicle insurance, business income interruption insurance, cyber insurance, commercial umbrella insurance, and more. Our insurance and risk management advisors are industry specialists for condominium associations, golf and country clubs, oil and petroleum marketers, construction, landscaping, churches and non-profits, and work comp. Navigating insurance requires an experienced and trusted insurance agent who understands your business risks and exposures. Gulfshore Insurance services Naples, North Naples, Marco Island, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Sarasota, Lido Beach, Longboat Key, Bradenton Beach, and Southwest Florida. We have office locations in Naples, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota.
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