Safety Practices for Your Landscaping Contracts
According to data gathered in 2017 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, landscaping was listed among the top 11 occupations with the highest fatal injury count. The industry’s fatality rate of 16.9 per 100,000 workers is nearly five times that of all other workers, at a rate of 3.5 per 100,000 workers.
That said, it’s in everyone’s best interest to implement strict safety work practices on a landscaping job. Not only will this boost employee morale and help to keep workers safe, but it’ll also help your company to avoid hefty fines and lawsuits.
Mandatory Safety Training for Everyone
Firstly, set safety goals and expectations for the year. Start by visiting the OSHA or CCOHS website for safety compliance tools and tips. You can also look at last year’s results and set goals for the next year. In addition, you should take suggestions from your employees, since they see first-hand what can be improved on-site during landscaping contracts. Everyone should be working together and assuming responsibility for making safety the company’s number one priority.
Once expectations are set, make sure that everyone is up to date on the latest construction safety tips with mandatory bi-weekly or monthly safety trainings. By using videos and simulations during these trainings, you can improve the chances of getting the message across. Additionally, you can continuously post reminders of the safety expectations to ensure that workers remember their responsibilities. It could also be useful to conduct random safety inspections on-site.
Get Everyone Onboard
Since everyone’s involvement is key when it comes to safety, you need to ensure that safety is part of your company’s culture. Consider rewarding your staff to encourage them to take safe work practices seriously. This could come in the form of a pay increase every six months for demonstrating proactiveness on the job. Additionally, you can offer perks or rewards, such as Amazon gift cards and a celebratory company lunch after a year of no work accidents. You can also offer an extra vacation day for your “Safety Employee of the Month”, etc.—get creative with it!
On-Site Safety Tips
- Wear high visibility clothes, no matter the job. Vehicle accidents are the leading cause of landscaping fatalities.
- Avoid loose clothing at all costs to prevent it from getting caught in running equipment.
- Have the right gloves for the job: vibration-absorbing gloves while operating vibrating material, chemical-resistant gloves when handling fertilizer, etc.
- Start every new job with a safety brief to go over the essentials. For example, explain where the First Aid kit is located, where the designated hand-washing station is, etc.
- Make sure your staff takes frequent breaks and has access to water. This is especially important in the summer months to avoid heat exhaustion or accidents caused by it.
- Ensure that your staff immediately reports anything that can be unsafe to their working.
- Fill out an incident report in the event of an accident. Then, send this report to HR.
Tool & Equipment Precautions
- Make it mandatory for employees to read the safety manual before operating a new tool and have these manuals accessible at all times.
- Keep staff away from any tools or equipment that they’re not trained to use.
- Unplug electric tools before clearing a jam, to avoid getting extremities caught in the moving parts.
- Ensure that tools are always sharp to avoid accidents and to minimize repetitive stress injuries.
- Stop leaf blowers when pedestrians walk nearby to avoid accidentally hitting them with debris.
- Make sure that employees are not trying to alter or bypass safety guards on equipment—they are there for a reason.
Safety Solutions Related to the Coronavirus
If your landscaping contracts must continue during this time, make sure to implement the following tips to keep your employees safe and healthy.
- Minimize staff so that a safe distance of 6 feet can be maintained between them.
- Keep office staff separate from field staff.
- Set up a hand-washing station and ask all employees to wash their hands every 30 minutes.
- Offer hand sanitizer to all employees.
- Don’t let anyone work without an N95 respirator mask.
- Provide employees with thermometers to check their temperature every morning. They should also monitor their health throughout the day.
- Send home any employee displaying symptoms of a cold or flu immediately.
- Disinfect steering wheels, phones, and door, tools, and equipment handles daily.
While staying safe on the job is important, safety should start off-site first. Never put off implementing safety practices because you’re too busy. Accidents happen the second you stop prioritizing safety.