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Don’t be a victim of landscaping accidents

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Summertime is in full swing. Landscapers from different sized private companies to municipal and government agencies are hard at work all over New York. As with all other industries, landscaping poses various workplace dangers that range from hazardous equipment, repetitive hard work, toxic chemicals, heat exposure and more.

If you are an employee in this profession, your employer can take precautions to protect you from known hazards. First, you must receive the necessary safety training to enable you to recognize dangerous conditions and know how to avoid injury. Furthermore, your employer must provide appropriate personal protective equipment as stipulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Common risks in landscaping

Your job as a landscape service worker will require you to work in various settings and locations, each with its own unique dangers. You will work in all kinds of weather, using dangerous equipment and tools while working with hazardous chemicals. Authorities say hundreds of employees in this industry lose their lives every year from occupational injuries such as slip, trips and falls, cuts, amputations, and more. Implementing the following items could allow you to avoid known hazards and might just save your life:

  • Personal protective equipment: Wearing a hard hat at all times can protect you from falling objects when you work below others who might be trimming trees above you. Thousands of workers (including many in landscaping) die each year after suffering traumatic brain injuries. Gardening activities can also send stones, twigs and other debris flying, and wearing safety goggles can protect your eyes, while hearing protection around excessively noisy equipment can prevent hearing damage.
  • Dress for safety and visibility: At times, your job may take you to areas close to roadways. Make sure that motorists are aware of your presence by placing warning signs on the road’s shoulder. Wear clothing that will make you noticeable, such as a bright reflective vest. Proper shoes can prevent slips and protect your toes and feet from the extreme winter cold. In the summer time, your clothing should be loose fitting and light, but not baggy enough to be caught in equipment — and remember the sunscreen.
  • Tool maintenance: Ensuring that the blades of your cutting equipment are sharp can prevent unnecessary strain that could cause repetitive stress injuries. Remember never to attempt repairs or maintenance before de-energizing the machine to avoid potential amputation injuries.
  • Equipment training: Your job as a landscape service worker will expose you to various types of equipment, some of which can pose severe hazards. Along with mowers and hedge clippers, there might be chain saws, tillers, trenchers, wood chippers and more. Operating any of these machines without proper training could endanger both your own life and those around you.

The New York workers’ compensation insurance program provides different benefits to help injured workers cope with medical expenses and lost income. However, you might never need to claim these benefits if you take note of the potential hazards of landscaping and comply with all safety regulations whenever you are on the job.

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