OSHA Emphasizes Landscaping Worker Safety
The U.S. Department of Labor is urging landscaping industry employers to increase protection efforts this year and be cautious about hiring minors.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 142 workers in the landscaping and groundskeeping industries died from workplace injuries.
BLS landscaping and groundskeeping work-related fatalities from 2011 to 2021 total 1,072.
“Landscaping can be dangerous when workers lack experience and appropriate training in a language they understand,” Occupational Safety and Health assistant secretary Doug Parker said.
“Too often, our inspectors find workers harmed in ways that their employers could have prevented by following federal and industry safety standards.
OSHA inspectors said common hazards include:
- Exposure to chemicals such as fertilizer and pesticides.
- Respiratory hazards.
- Lack of personal protective equipment, particularly to protect hands and feet.
- Moving machine parts, including mower blades and other equipment.
- Operating machines near water hazards, such as ponds and ditches.
- Encounters with animals, insects and other natural hazards.
- Contact with electrical power lines during tree and bush trimming.
- Exposure to extreme summer weather.
- Use of riding mowers.
When it comes to hiring minors for summer help, employers should be aware of federal protection laws that restrict employees under 17 from working in hazardous occupations.
Connecticut prohibits the employment of minors in certain positions, or operating equipment deemed hazardous.
“Employers are best advised to carefully examine the nature of the duties required before employing those under 17 in landscaping positions,” CBIA director of compensation services and safety Phillip Montgomery said.
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