April 17, 2014

Staying safe in landscaping

Spring is here and everyone from homeowners to commercial businesses are ready to spruce up their surroundings. This also means landscaping companies are coming out of hibernation. Offering a variety of services from lawn maintenance to ornate landscape design and installation, these companies use a variety of tools, staff and materials.

If you or your employees are performing these services, please keep in mind the following hazards:

  • Chemicals and pesticides
  • Lawn maintenance equipment
  • Strains
  • Slips, trips, and falls
  • Heavy equipment exposures
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Sun burns

In addition to these expected hazards, Mother Nature and the scope of the project can introduce new dangers to a jobsite daily. That means frequent assessments of the site are essential. Teaching employees how to perform a quick job hazard analysis at the beginning of each project can help identify the unique hazards each day on the job presents. Once hazards are identified, confirm that employees have been properly trained to protect themselves from those specific hazards.

Safety considerations should include:

  • Implementing safety rules and training employees on the proper way to use and maintain all applicable equipment. This includes any heavy equipment use, as terrain and exposures to other people in the area can lead to accidents.
  • Determining the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, proper footwear, safety glasses, face shields and hard hats.
  • Encouraging employees to drink plenty of water.
  • Reminding employees to protect their skin with sunscreen and proper clothing.

Many elements that put employees at risk are forgotten, including sun exposure, noise, material handling, and even potential language barriers. Addressing all of these risks is too much for one post, but there are a variety of resources and tools designed to help employers identify and avoid these hazards:

Pinnacol Resources

Additional Resources