Landscape Safety 101

March 8th 2020

Keeping everyone safe and healthy on the job is always a good idea. Committing your landscape team to these principles is one of the very best means of ensuring everyone goes home at the end of the day. People are a companies best natural resource, and the best way to protect them is to put them through a course we like to call Landscape Safety 101.

Landscape Safety 101: Basic Components

Landscaping is one of the most dangerous jobs in North America. Employees scale trees, use sharp, cutting tools, and handle potentially deadly machinery. As a result, employees are at high risk of injuring themselves while on the job. These may be as minor as scrapes, scratches, and bruises. They can also be more serious. Landscape workers have suffered from broken bones, mangled body parts, amputations of fingers and other limbs, and even death while performing their designated tasks.

To protect landscape workers from harm, it is best to consider the following as it applies to your specific landscape services:

· Identify: Assess each actual and potential worksite for issues. Recognize specific hazards and risks. Make sure it includes those specific to your lawn and landscaping tasks. Update it and expand it as required when taking on new or infrequent jobs

· Document: Compile a list of each actual and potential risk and hazard

· Compile: Assemble the material in a file

· Consult: Contact and talk to experts in the field of landscaping and landscape health and safety such as the National Association of Landscape Professionals

· Develop: Use the documents and expert input to develop a health and safety plan particular to your landscaping company

· Create: From the material and the health and safety, some form of health and safety manual. Make sure it is in a language everyone understands. If the employees do not speak English, make sure it is also available in the language of their choice. If the language is too technical or obtuse, alter it. After all, they are the ones who need to understand the risks they are facing and how to avoid, reduce, or eliminate them.

· Distribute: Make sure every employee has access to the manual

· Training: Provide training sessions for all employees. This includes both seasoned workers and recent employees. Be sure to address all aspects from how to correctly wear and use personal protective equipment (PPE) to how to handle hazardous chemicals to the safe use of all landscape-related machinery. If the method of training you are using is not effective, rethink the process. Remember, the manual is for them, not for some bureaucratic entity. Change it if necessary, to make it more effective and to meet their needs. Be sure to revise and update whenever necessary, even if it means prior to a specific landscaping job.

Such an approach is designed to inform all workers. While training may seem to be difficult during the busy season, it should never be ignored. The health and safety of all employees needs to be a priority. A health and safety training program must always be an integral component of any landscaping company, including those who only provide lawn care and maintenance services.

Landscaping Safety 101

Keeping everyone on a worksite safe is not only the morally right thing to do but also smart business. Reducing the risks and preventing injuries shows a commitment to employees by the landscaping company. It indicates the company is trying to provide workers with a better work environment. It helps to increase morale while improving productivity. It also helps to ensure the landscape contractors retain good workers. This can help reduce stress for the owner and reduce overall costs that can arise from delays and redoing work resulting from a lack of skilled and dedicated employees.