Landscaping is considered one of the most dangerous jobs in North America. The death toll in the United States alone is annually close to 200. Between 2003 and 2006, the death toll was 789. This means that every year almost 200 workers were fatally injured while working in this profession.
This is not entirely unexpected since the work often involves the use of potentially dangerous machinery as well as heavy physical labor. Together with the number of untrained amateurs in the file, it is really not surprising that many injuries occur on the job.
While the risk of injury is high in this profession, some tasks are more open to causing injuries than others are. They produce a variety of work-related injuries. The most common ones are:
1. Amputations: A moving lawnmower, shrub trimming equipment, or wood chippers can cause serious damage if it comes into contact with the arms, hands, legs, or any other body part of a landscaper. While some may only suffer abrasions or contusions, some sharp blades are capable of amputation in a blink of an eye.
2. Broken or Bruised Body: Carrying a heavy load or placing a load of landscape pavers can result in a trip, slip and/or fall. So, too, can not seeing a mislaid object on the ground or falling from a height. Falls from ladders, for example, can cause simple bruises or result in broken legs.
3. Burns (Pesticides and Chemicals): Pesticides and toxic chemicals can produce burns to the skin. Improper training or a lack of the same results in a lack of understanding of the proper handling and distribution of toxic chemicals and pesticides.
4. Burns (Electrical): Charged wires and other electrical equipment can burn the flesh.
5. Cuts: This can arise from a simple slip and fall, or, more common from using tools and mobile equipment such as tree and shrub trimmers.
6. Electrocution: Although not as common as other landscape injuries, this can happen. When digging, if the workers are unaware of buried lines, this can create the ideal conditions for electrocution. High voltage machinery and frequent digging near electrical wires put landscapers at risk of electrocution, as does tree trimming.
7. Hearing Damage: Loud, high, and consistent noise levels can produce injury to the ears. This can result in damaged inner ears and subsequent loss of hearing.
8. Heat and Cold Stress/Overexertion: Landscapers work in extremes of temperature. They are out planting, weeding, preparing beds, and laying out paving stone in all types of weather.
10. Strains: Landscape injuries can arise from lifting objects incorrectly. They may be the result of twisting the body unnaturally. The result can be a sore neck or sore back. Lifting can cause strains, pulled ligaments, or even slipped discs.
These are all possible landscaping injuries. Most can be avoided through proper training, including understanding the proper way to move loads and the right way to work with toxic chemicals.
Avoiding Landscaping Injuries
Landscaping involves a higher potential for injuries occurring than many other jobs. Working with machinery, exposure to high noise levels and hazardous chemicals, lifting, and weather-related threats offer risks to the health and safety of employees. When considering hiring a company to handle everything from lawn maintenance to plantings, always ask about whether the company provides sufficient training and carries workers’’ compensation as well as other types of insurance. Check out who is available and what they offer by using a third-party app such as Edenapp. These are available from the Apple store, Android and edenapp.com.