OSHA reminds employers to stay focused on employee protection during busy season

July 9, 2023 -  By

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reminds employers to focus on protecting crews from hazards that can potentially lead to serious or fatal injuries for landscaping and groundskeeping workers.

“Landscaping can be dangerous when workers lack experience and appropriate training in a language they understand,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker. “Too often, our inspectors find workers harmed in ways that their employers could have prevented by following federal and industry safety standards. We urge employers to implement strategies that involve their workers and protect everyone.”

Hazards that landscapers commonly face 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.

From 2011-2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 1,072 work-related fatalities occurred in the landscaping and groundskeeping industry. In 2021, 142 industry workers suffered fatal workplace injuries.

The department advises landscaping employers who hire young people for summer jobs to be aware of federal law that restricts employees under age 17 from working in hazardous occupations.

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