As a landscaper, your top priority is beautifying outdoor spaces for clients, but the safety hazards you face can't be ignored. From handling heavy machinery to working with potentially dangerous tools and materials, you must have strategies and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to manage safety risks and protect yourself and your employees against injury.
In this blog post, we'll discuss practical tips to mitigate any potential dangers related to the work you do every day.
Protect Your Hands - The Importance of Gloves
In the landscape industry, handling tools is a routine task that can put workers at risk of hand injuries. Wearing gloves is a simple yet effective safety practice. Many companies require employees to wear company-approved gloves when adjusting, sharpening, or working with cutting blades or other sharp objects.
Gloves are also necessary when working with poisonous plants. As landscapers, you'll inevitably come into contact with poisonous plants like poison oak, poison ivy, or poison sumac. These plants produce toxic sap that can cause a skin reaction if touched directly or indirectly. Indirect contact can occur when the sap rubs off onto our clothes or equipment and our skin. To identify these plants, look for key differences such as leaf shape. Poison ivy has three shiny leaflets on a stem and can grow as a plant, bush, or vine. Poison oak is similar in appearance, but the three leaflets resemble oak leaves. Poison sumac has a compound leaf with two rows of leaflets opposite each other and a leaflet at the tip. Remember the old rhyme, "Leaves of three, let it be," to help identify these plants. If you come into contact with them, wash your hands thoroughly to prevent skin or eye contact. And be careful not to inhale smoke from burning these plants, and wear proper respiratory protective equipment and safety glasses.
Cover Your Ears: Prevent Hearing Loss With Ear Protection
Crews working with loud equipment face a very real risk of hearing loss. That's why it's crucial to emphasize the importance of proper hearing protection to all crew members. Whether they prefer earplugs or earmuffs, each person should choose what feels most comfortable. However, it's essential to use the highest grade of protection consistently for every job rather than switching between different levels of protection.
While hearing loss is the most obvious danger associated with loud equipment, another factor often gets overlooked: long-term exposure to loud noises can cause daily fatigue. Don't let this silent threat affect your crew's productivity and well-being. Take action and prioritize hearing safety for your team.
Pesticide Use: Ensuring Safety and Proper Handling
Using pesticides is a common practice in the landscape industry. However, it is essential to establish guidelines for all employees before utilizing these chemicals. Different pesticides have varying levels of toxicity and can cause harm to living tissue.
Toxicity can be classified as acute, which occurs with short-term exposure, or chronic, which occurs with long-term exposure. Symptoms of improper pesticide exposure include nausea, headaches, pinpoint pupils, and loss of consciousness. It is crucial to thoroughly understand the directions and precautions specified on the labels of pesticides, as well as the required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for each type. Minimizing skin exposure can significantly reduce the absorption of pesticides into the body. Wearing long-sleeved shirts, gloves, goggles, masks, long pants, and closed-toe shoes decreases the risk.
Back Injuries: Don't Put Your Back Into It
One primary concern is back injuries, which have cost the landscape industry over a quarter of a billion dollars in the past five years in California alone. With an average claim of $22,000 and frequent occurrence, back injuries are a leading cause of time away from work.
Implementing pre-work morning stretches can make a significant difference to combat back issues. By promoting muscle flexibility and strengthening the back, employees can prepare for the day ahead and avoid injuries. These simple stretches only take a few minutes and can be done anywhere, ensuring a healthy and successful career in the landscaping industry.
Gasoline: Reduce Health Risks
Although limited exposure to gasoline is typically low risk, it is important to be aware of the potential dangers. Gasoline and its vapors can be toxic, causing health issues with prolonged exposure. Symptoms of acute gasoline poisoning include dizziness, headaches, coughing, weakness, and difficulty breathing. Chronic exposure can lead to permanent organ damage, coma, or even death. Therefore, it is crucial to handle gasoline in well-ventilated areas. If working in poorly ventilated spaces, proper safety measures, including respirators, safety glasses, and non-permeable gloves, should be worn when handling gasoline.
You can prevent workplace injuries by taking these simple precautions and providing your crew with the proper PPE. Remember to stay mindful of the unique conditions of each job and prioritize safety at all times.
Visit www.mowmore.com for a safety products for landscapers.