It's time to get back outside in Minnesota when the final snow piles melt away and the trees begin to bud. For some this means outdoor hobbies like gardening, walking or bicycling. For the landscaping industry, it means that work is back in full season.
Landscaping is one of the country's most dangerous jobs. Nearly 200 service workers die each year from work-related injuries, which is above the average fatality rate for a job. There are many hazards, including heavy machinery, sharp equipment, working from tall heights or with electrical currents. OSHA provides a great resource for anyone in the industry that details hazards as well as safety procedures.
The most common types of injuries
While there's a wide range of health hazards facing anyone in the landscaping industry, here are five of the most common injuries:
- Contact with machinery or equipment - Sharp blades and moving gears can cause serious injury.
- Slips and falls - Whether working from heights or tripping at ground level, a single fall can change major injury.
- Weather exposure - Winter isn't the only dangerous season. Heat stroke and dehydration are common summer ailments.
- Hazardous materials - Many landscapers work closely with pesticides, yard care products and other toxic chemicals.
- Electrical currents - High voltage machinery and frequent digging near electrical wires put landscapers at risk of electrocution.
From mild to serious injury
No matter the task at hand, each of the issues above can range from a minor injury like a cut or laceration to death or paralysis. It's often a split second of difference between them.
By its nature, landscaping has more risk than a sedentary job like working in an office. That doesn't mean, however, that workers should expect injury as part of a day's work. Federal regulations aim to ensure safe workplaces for everyone, and the workers' compensation insurance program is a resource for those who do suffer an injury. Under the program, anybody who is injured on the job deserves full compensation for their medical expenses and time away from work as a result of the injury.
Hopefully the list of common injuries above will help you to avoid painful situations at work. In the event that something does happen, remember that you have the legal right to seek compensation.