Workers employed in landscaping are faced daily with hazards arising from the nature of their job and equipment they use. Work routines involving power tools, blades, and heavy lifting can all result in potentially serious workplace injuries.
Some common landscaping injuries are:
- Slips, trips, and/or falls, leading to fractures, sprains, or strains on the fingers, back, and legs.
- Being struck by an object (debris or equipment) on the job.
- Overexertion, usually when a worker moves or lifts objects such as equipment, supplies, or debris.
Not surprisingly, injury prevention should be a primary concern in the landscaping industry. Seton understands this, with worker safety continuing to be a main business priority. As such, the following tips are offered to help ensure landscaping safety, especially during the coming summer.
- Prior to performing any mowing or trimming task, it is important to inspect the work area and carry out necessary precautions. Identify any potential hazards, and clear those out. Any changes that require adjusting the original plans should be made, and made wisely.
- Make a thorough inspection of the tools to be used on the job. Perform the required quality and maintenance protocols to allow workers to complete their tasks safely and efficiently.
- Reduce unwanted incidents by keeping non-personnel away from the premises, and prevent bystander access by marking out work areas. Seton has several traffic management devices that clearly identify outdoor work areas, preventing accidents involving personnel, pedestrians and vehicles alike.
Using a Lawn Mower
- Start the lawn mower outdoors, pushing it in forward in an upright position. Be alert to hidden hazards (such as drain pipes, holes, roots, insect nests), and make sure the mower is on idle when stopping to clear away debris. Be sure to mow away from power cords when using electric powered lawn mowers. Remember as well take frequent rest breaks, especially in hot weather.
- Avoid stalling the motor or choking the mower by proceeding working slowly in areas with tall, heavy grass. If the blade hits a hard object, stop immediately and make the necessary inspection and repairs before resuming work. Unclog or remove debris from the mower with a stick (while it is shut off) to avoid touching the blades.
- Mow in such a manner as to prevent the mower rolling back or over the feet. For push mowers, mowing on inclines should be done across the slope; riding lawn mowers, on the other hand, should be driven straight and down along slopes.
- When climbing, break off small dead branches by hand, and remove larger branches using the appropriate equipment. Make sure keep the cut in view, to prevent severing lines, safety cords, etc.
- Carry larger tools using hand lines attached to the end of the equipment, to prevent snagging on branches. Smaller ones may be hoisted in a bucket or similar container connected to a hand line. Make sure that saws attached to a ring on a worker’s belt are equipped with fibre or leather guards.
- Remember to wear non-conductive personal protective gear when working near power lines. Seton offers a wide range of personal protective equipment designed for specialized needs as well as standard safety requirements.
What to Avoid When Trimming Trees
- Climbing trees in wet, icy, or high wind weather conditions.
- Letting partially cut limbs stay on trees.
- Using dead branches as support.
- Carrying saws, pruners and similar tools while climbing.
- Using hatchets and axes.
Other Tips To Remember
- Be sure to turn off and/or disconnect equipment immediately after use. Prevent any rusting by removing dirt and moisture. Put tools away when the job is finished, and store them with safe, organized storage and security systems that allows workers easy, safe access whenever the need arises. Lockout kits and other supplies are designed to meet such needs, and are also readily available from Seton.
- If tools are to be stored in a vehicle, they should be firmly secured to prevent shifting or falling during transport.
- Wash hands thoroughly after work or when changing tasks (to prevent transferring dirt and debris), as well as prior to eating or using the washroom.
- Make allowances not only for expected weather, but for when severe weather should ever occur. There should be available shelter for any sudden thunderstorms, preferably buildings or fully enclosed metal vehicles, and not sheds.
Workers performing landscaping rely on potentially dangerous equipment while being exposed to the elements. As such, the proper use and maintenance of the equipment is of utmost importance. Employing the proper personal protective gear and safe work practices effectively helps prevent accidents and injury on the job. This in beneficial not only to the safety of employees, but to the performance and well-being of the whole company as well.
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