Keep Your Lawn Care Employees Safe on the Job
It’s that time of year when lawn care companies ramp up their activities. It is also the time when these companies hire a number of new employees who may, or may not, be well versed in the necessary safety practices when on the job.
Landscaping and lawn care workers are at risk of injury from a wide variety of potential hazards. These include exposure to chemicals, machinery, noise and weather related hazards. Now would be a good time to pull your employees together around the “toolbox” and review your safety procedures.
Lawn Mower Safety
With so much grass to cut there are times those operating lawn mowers and other lawn care equipment get in a hurry. This is often when accidents occur. Every year thousands of people are treated for lawn mower-related injuries including those who cut lawns for a living.
Some of the key safety tips to follow are …
- Check the property prior to mowing. Remove any debris and obstructions including toys, limbs, rocks, wire, or glass. Locate all sprinkler heads, exposed electrical wire or cords, tree stumps, or exposed roots and pipes.
- Make sure all children, co-workers and bystanders are not in the area that is being mowed.
- Wear proper protection against flying debris and noise (long pants, hard shoes, safety glasses, and ear plugs)
Trimmers, Edgers and Blowers
Many powered hand tools such as string trimmers, lawn edgers, hedge trimmers, and leaf blowers are widely used in lawn care. While these devices are very useful in making jobs easier and more efficient, they can be dangerous if used without proper training and care.
Here are some safety tips related to these products.
- Remove debris such as glass, limbs, rocks, and trash that could possibly become a projectile before trimming.
- Watch out for exposed electrical wires, communication lines, and extension cords that could be damaged by the trimmer string or edger blade.
- Don’t remove protective guards and string guides.
Using Lawn Chemicals
Lawn care employees will inevitably be asked about the safety and environmental impact of fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides that are applied to their property. It is essential to train your field staff and office employees in exactly how to respond to those questions.
It is beneficial to provide a printed handout that staff can hand out and office staff can send via email. Commercially available chemicals are registered or licensed by the EPA and most state’s environmental protection departments. Each licensed/registered product has been thoroughly evaluated to ensure it is effective and poses minimal risk to families, pets and the environment.
Additional precautions include …
- Make sure there are no children and animals in or near the application area.
- Avoid exposure to skin, eyes and nose during and after application.
- Use only the recommended amount; more chemical than prescribed will not do a better job.
Accidents Affect Your Insurance Rate
It comes as no surprise that the more injuries your workforce has, and their severity, impact your Workers’ Comp and liability insurance rates. Every year more than 80,000 people go to the emergency room because of lawn mower and other lawn care related injuries, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Take a minute to reemphasize the importance of safety on the job and keep your employees and your business healthy. A more detailed safety list can be found at Lawn Care Safety Tips.
The Mitchell Agency
If you need to review your present insurance because of changes in employee headcount, job duties, and current coverage, please give me, Vince Shissler, a call at 765-742-1135, or email me at email@example.com.