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A look at why serious injuries are on the rise in the green industry

December 27, 2021 -  By

While the total number of injuries in the landscape industry has fallen since 2001, the percentage of serious injuries has increased from 16 percent to 21 percent from 2001 to 2017, according to a recent study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The study was based on workers’ compensation data from Ohio and other states. It identified common factors leading to injuries and illnesses in the landscaping services industry and evaluated 18,037 workers’ compensation claims from 2001–2017. Of those claims, 3,311 were serious injuries.

(Photo: Hailshadow/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

(Photo: Hailshadow/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

“Because we’re able to take a much closer look at each case, we have a better identification of the actual hazards, how it happened and suggestions on how we can mitigate those hazards they’re experiencing,” says Sam Steel, Ed.D., safety adviser for the National Association of Landscape Professionals. “The new study enables us to figure out specifically what happened in that case and how we can go about developing a training program or mentorship program for new workers.”

Steel says more hands-on training may help reduce the number of serious injuries.

“We’re a much more high-tech industry than we used to be. I believe the higher number of serious injuries is tied to the new technology of more powerful, larger equipment,” Steel says. “For our industry, a lecture at a tailgate training out in the field, where it’s one-way communication between the trainer and trainees, is not very effective.”

For example, if a company is conducting zero-turn mower training, Steel recommends putting the operators on the machine, having them demonstrate all of the safe operating procedures and then evaluating whether the training was effective or not by observing the workers at the worksite.

“The training needs to keep pace with the technology,” Steel adds.

This article is tagged with , and posted in 1221, Featured, From the Magazine, Issue Date, SafetyWatch
Sarah Webb

About the Author:

Sarah Webb is Landscape Management's former managing editor. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University, where she studied journalism and Spanish. Prior to her role at LM, Sarah was an intern for Cleveland Magazine and a writing tutor.

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