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A safe approach to outdoor maintenance hazards

Jul 4, 2023 | Public | 0 comments

Safety isn’t necessarily something most people associate with groundskeeping, but outdoor maintenance comes with a list of hazards that need to be considered as part of your maintenance plan. In 2021, there were about 142 work-related fatalities associated with outdoor maintenance each year, so protecting your team and preventing injury is vital to your business.

Some of the most common risks to outdoor workers include exposure to chemicals and pesticides, air quality and extreme heat, operating heavy machinery, and contact with electrical power lines. Knowing how to mitigate these hazards will protect your team and keep your business operational.

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, there are several steps you can take to stay safe as a landscaper, groundskeeper, or outdoor maintenance manager:

  • Wear visible clothing. Motor vehicle collisions are among the top causes of fatalities among outdoor workers, so be sure all workers can easily be seen by drivers as they complete their tasks.
  • Make sure all equipment and tools are in good working order. Things like dull blades mean workers have to exert more force, which could lead to repetitive stress injuries.
  • Train staff to know how to use the tools and machinery they are equipped with, so accidents don’t happen as a result of unqualified users.
  • Equip your workers with basic first aid necessities like a bee sting kit to help them address minor injuries on-site, quickly and efficiently.
  • Watch weather reports to be aware of risks like severe storms so you can plan for cover if the storm hits or schedule the work for another day in better weather.
  • In extreme heat, take precautions to protect workers from heat stroke or exposure with shade, frequent breaks, and scheduled times to hydrate.
  • When air quality is poor, provide proper PPE like masks, respirators, or any other protection to help filter particles and allow workers to breathe easier.
  • Make your team aware of any natural risks in the work area like ticks, poison ivy, or standing water which may carry disease. Wearing proper attire and avoiding these areas will help keep workers mindful and safe.

Outdoor work can be dangerous, but your workers can be protected with a proactive plan and protocols in place. Train your teams to know how to handle the risks in their jobs to provide a safe and healthy working environment for landscapers, groundskeepers, and outdoor maintenance workers.

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