Accidents are likely to happen in the landscaping industry, and as a professional landscaper, safety should be your first concern. Working outdoors and performing landscaping tasks can expose you to a lot of health and safety hazards. The job introduces you to a variety of sharp equipment, power tools, dangerous machines, and hand tools, that can cause debilitating injuries if not handled properly.
Apart from this, the scorching weather brings several risks for landscapers. If you want to avoid these risks, make sure you follow these landscaping safety tips carefully and are ready with all the basic safety precautions all the time. Here are some things you need to keep in mind during the busy summer season:
1. Keep Your Tools Well-Maintained
Power equipment including trenchers, tillers, excavators, and mowers can result in severe injuries if not operated correctly. If you know the maintenance process for all equipment, you can easily keep them in good working condition. For example, a dull blade is way more dangerous than a sharp one as you have to exert more force to get the job done. Sharp and well-maintained tools not only make your job easy but also lower the risk of repetitive-stress injuries.
2. Dress Appropriately
The right clothing also plays a vital role when it comes to protecting landscapers from potential accidents at the workplace. It is recommended that you and your team wear high-visibility apparel, safety glasses, safety shoes, and extra coverage to get protection from sun and abrasions. For instance, the high-visibility clothes help crew members spot you easily while operating machinery and reduce the chance of any kind of mishap. Whereas sturdy shoes can prevent slipping and protect you from falling or dropping tools and other objects while working in the field.
3. Know How to Handle Machinery Properly
You and your crew need to have a thorough knowledge of all the equipment being handled. Most accidents in the landscaping industry come from mistakes made while using heavy machinery. In addition, if you’re planning to add more people to your team, make sure to give them adequate training to handle machines well. Hire a trainer or give this responsibility to your expert operator to train new employees before sending them out in the field.
4. Introduce a Safety Procedure to Your Site
If you are a landscaping contractor, you might be working with a team of professional landscapers. In this case, the safety of your teammates is your responsibility. To protect your employees, you need to establish a safety procedure for your work location. Regular training and safety updates make perfect practice for a safer work environment. This is also a great idea to show your care and encourage your team to perform well without compromising on safety.
5. Beat the Heat
Don’t let excessive heat take charge of your landscape workers this summer. According to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), the landscaping industry is one of the most affected industries by heat-related illness. If you don’t want the scorching heat to impact your team, you should focus on creating a program to protect your employees from sun exposure and heat illness. Encourage workers to stay hydrated and take breaks whenever they feel low. Make them wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and loose hats to cover their body and use glasses for eye protection. Also, learn the symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke and know what to do in an emergency.
6. Restrict Access to Your Working Location
If you’re working on a site individually or with your team, it’s an ideal to set up a perimeter and ensure that only employees working on the location have access to it. Non-employees coming into a work site is a common cause of mishaps. So make sure only necessary people have access to your site while your working.
7. Carry Out Walk-around Inspections
If you want to ensure your and your team’s safety, taking out some time from your schedule to do an inspection. Thoroughly examining all the machinery and tools before starting your operation can really help reduce the risk of on-site accidents. Inspect every detail carefully and if something seems slightly off or wrong, say something. Be diligent to look for cracks, cuts, leaks, and signs of wear and tear.
8. Work on Your Driving Safety
With an increasing workload in the summer, your crew members are on the road more. According to the report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a car crash takes place every 5 seconds in the U.S and most of these accidents happen when people are driving during their working hours. To reduce your risk of getting into an accident, you should include a driver-safety program into your landscaping business that involves training drivers to operate vehicles with trailers.
Also, be sure to show drivers proper lifting, load capacities and secure transportation protocols. Tell them not to over-exceed the specified load capacity of their vehicles as it can result in road accidents.
The key takeaway
The tips mentioned above may seem general but avoiding them can expose landscapers to serious injuries. Ultimately, the injuries caused on landscaping sites are serious. Being a landscape professional, keeping your crew safe should be your priority at all times. So make these landscaping safety tips part of your routine and stay safe during these busy summer months.