In the U.S., about 25 per 100,000 landscape service workers die every year from on-the-job injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This means the landscape services industry is just as dangerous as other recognized high-risk industries, such as mining and agriculture. While it is difficult to prevent accidents entirely, you can significantly reduce injuries by mitigating risks in your landscaping business.
Keeping this in mind, here’s a look at some of the top causes of traumatic injuries in the landscape services industry.
Because landscape services workers typically work outdoors, they’re often exposed to extreme weather conditions, particularly during the summer and winter. For instance, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), heatstroke kills hundreds of Americans every year, making it a major hazard in the summer. On the other hand, winter exposes landscape service workers to frostbites and, in worst cases, hypothermia, which causes at least 1300 deaths annually, as reported by the American Burn Association (ABA). With this in mind, you should always protect yourself from extreme weather by wearing the necessary personal protective equipment. Additionally, in summer, ensure you stay hydrated, rest adequately, and take a break from work if you feel fatigued.
Injuries with Tools and Equipment
Most landscaping equipment, such as lawnmowers, have sharp blades that are potentially dangerous. Therefore, when using such machines, be extra careful and avoid all distractions to prevent cuts, stress injuries, and accidental amputations. While some tools such as shovels and rakes may look harmless, they can potentially injure your toes in case they fall on your feet. That said, wear safety boots to protect your feet and handle tools carefully. Furthermore, to minimize the risk of injury, ensure you learn how to use all machines correctly.
When spraying pesticide on plants, you should first protect your body to ensure you don’t come into direct contact with it. This is because pesticides, when ingested, inhaled, or touched, can cause health issues, including, among others, skin burns and rashes, stomach upset, respiratory complications, and in worst cases, death. Equally important, you should take the necessary measures to protect your eyes from chemicals. This means you should wear the right protective equipment such as gloves, goggles, and overalls. In case you’re dealing with noisy machines such as lawnmowers, be sure to wear hearing protectors to keep your ears safe from hearing loss.
High Voltage Electric Currents
Working near/around utility lines and electrical equipment is particularly dangerous for landscape service workers. In fact, electrocution is one of the top causes of fatalities in the landscape services industry, accounting for about 10% of all fatalities, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To protect yourself from electrocution, watch out for underground cables when digging and overhead ones when working at heights. Besides, wearing insulating gloves and boots can help protect you from severe injuries from high-voltage electric currents.
Slips, Trips and Falls
Slip, trip and fall accidents can happen both at heights and at the ground level, resulting in a traumatic injury. To help prevent such accidents, ensure your footwear provides a strong grip against all surfaces. Also, you can wear knee and elbow pads, especially if you are working at heights.
To prevent traumatic injuries and fatalities in your landscaping business, use these tips to address common landscaping hazards. For extra peace of mind, purchase the right contractor insurance. At Artisan Insurance Solutions, our experts will help you find a contractor insurance policy that suits your construction business. For more details, contact us today.