Summer Safety for Landscape Workers

From increased driving to hot temperatures, summer can pose many risks for landscaping professionals.

National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP)
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Do you have a summer safety plan in place? From increased driving to hot temperatures, summer can pose many risks for landscape professionals. June is National Safety Month, so we wanted to make sure we put a special emphasis on your safety, and provided all the tools and resources you will need this season to keep your employees safe.

Heat Safety

Don’t let heat take its toll on your team! The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists grounds maintenance and landscaping services as two of the six industries most affected by heat-related illness. In 2014, more than 2,600 workers across industries experienced heat illness, and 18 died on the job from heat stroke and related causes, according to the agency.

Tips:

  • Know that workers become overheated based on two factors—internal heat generated by physical labor and external heat in the environment.
  • Create a written program outlining steps for protecting workers from heat illness and sun exposure that could cause cancer.
  • Drink water every 15 minutes, even if you are not thirsty.
  • Take frequent breaks in shade or air conditioning, if possible.
  • Wear lightweight, long-sleeved shirts, pants, and a loose hat with at least a 4-inch brim and a drape to cover the back of your neck. This can keep you cooler, and help protect your face, ears and neck from sun exposure.
  • Learn the signs of heat illness and what to do in an emergency. Monitor yourself, as well as fellow workers, for signs of heat-related illness and remind co-workers to replenish fluids.
  • Find heat safety resources in English and Spanish here.

Driving Safety

With an increased job load, your crew is on the road more. A motor-vehicle crash takes place in the United States every five seconds, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Many of these incidents occur when employees are traveling as part of their jobs.

Tips:

  • Make sure your company has a driver-safety program that includes training specific to operating trucks with trailers.
  • Avoid impaired driving, whether by alcohol, lack of sleep or drugs, including over-the-counter and prescription medications.
  • Properly maintain vehicles and trailers based on manufacturer-recommended preventive maintenance schedules.
  • Check driving records as part of your recruiting process and screen out those with poor records. Review current employees’ records periodically and clearly define the number of violations an employee can have before losing the privilege of driving while on the clock.
  • Demonstrate to employees the proper way to drive while towing a trailer. Also demonstrate how to back up a trailer.
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