The prime landscaping season is here, meaning more work is becoming available to landscapers across the country. Landscapers are constantly at risk of injury when working. Being surrounded by blades, heavy machinery and chemicals can easily result in injuries and even fatal accidents despite having protective equipment available to them. This not only effects landscapers, but also their family members. Here are a few tips for how landscapers can protect themselves and their families while on the job.
Dress for the job, not the weather
Although it may be over 100 degrees F in some areas, dressing for the job is crucial to your safety. Long-sleeved shirts, jeans or pants, boots and goggles or glasses can all help protect your body from potential dangers. It’s important to note, however, that you need to be aware of when your body might be overheating in this protective clothing. If you need a break to cool off, take it. Also remember to tuck or remove any jewelry you may be wearing such as necklaces or even rings. These can quickly become hazards to you when you’re using equipment by getting stuck, hindering your use, etc. It may take longer to get the job done, but you know you’ll be doing your best work and keeping yourself safe.
Keep your tools sharp
This may seem backward, but if you’re working with dull tools, you’ll need to be using more effort and force to get the job done which can tire you out quickly and leave you more prone to making mistakes. Make sure your tools are sharp and ready to go can make the job much easier. Before you start every day, begin by inspecting your tools and run through a checklist of each item to see what’s going dull. You’ll be thanking yourself later when you don’t need to go over the same spot 10 times.
Get to know the equipment you’re working with
Even if you’ve been a landscaper for years, you likely haven’t tried every single brand of equipment on the market. If you’ve used one type of shears, lawnmower, etc., a new brand or even just a new piece of equipment can become an unfamiliar gadget that you’re touching. Make sure you give yourself time to get familiar with the power behind new tools. If you’re unaware of one small change or difference, it could cause severe injuries. Instead, read through the safety manual and give yourself time before taking new equipment with you to a job.
Survey the working conditions
A common injury among landscapers involves tripping and falling, but if you take extra precautions, you can avoid this. Take time to survey the land you’ll be working on. Are there loose grass clippings, random wet spots on the ground, is there enough lighting in shaded areas, are there random electrical cords you could be cutting into? Taking just a few moments before every job to get a feel for the area can help prevent injuries. It’s as simple as paying close attention to your surroundings and becoming familiar with a once unfamiliar place.
Take extra precautions when using chemicals
While it might seem like a simple part of the job, using chemicals is very dangerous. Make sure you comply with the safety rules given to you when using chemicals and wear extra gear to protect yourself from becoming exposed to harsh chemicals. Take extra steps such as inspecting your gloves for any holes before putting them on, washing your hands immediately after in case you came into contact with chemicals, marking the area with flags and other markers to let you and your co-workers aware of the dangers in the area, etc. Working with chemicals is no joke, and even if you use them every day, you need to be taking the same precautions every time.
Get AD+D insurance coverage
While it’s important to protect yourself on the job, and injury can affect not only you, but also your family. AD+D coverage, otherwise known as Accidental Death + Dismemberment insurance is important to protect your family financially if something happens to you. If you’re the sole person working in your household, or your income makes up a majority of your household income, this is especially important. AD+D coverage can make it possible for your family to be able to pay bills, cover medical costs and other expenses. Whether your accident is fatal, or you’re stuck in bed recovering or months, the right AD+D insurance can give you and your family peace of mind.
Tip: When you do go shopping for AD+D coverage, make sure you look at the types of accidents covered because not all policies cover all types of accidents.