Workplace safety is important for the health and well-being of both employers and employees. Violence, along with diseases and other health hazards can affect a worker’s ability to properly perform their day-to-day tasks. It is absolutely necessary for employers to educate their employees about workplace safety and protect them from potential health concerns.
Here is a list of a few hazards specific to the landscaping industry and how employees can practice safety techniques to avoid possible injuries.
Sun And Heat Related Hazards
The UV rays from the sun can be very dangerous if you don’t properly protect yourself. They can cause premature aging, cataracts, or skin cancer. The amount of harm caused by the sun’s UV rays depends on three factors: how long you are out in the sun, the intensity of the sun’s rays, and how well your skin is protected. Some tips to protect yourself from the sun include:
- Cover up. Wear jeans and long sleeved shirts to block the sun from coming in contact with your skin.
- SPF. Use an SPF of at least 15 percent to protect your skin. Make sure your reapply every one to two hours.
- Wear a hat. Wear a hat with a bill that will protect your neck, nose, ears, forehead, and eyes from the sun.
- Limit exposure. Try not to work out in the sun for extended periods of time.
The combination of heat and humidity can pose serious dangers to your health. If you work outdoors, you increase your risk of suffering from heat stroke. To protect yourself from the heat:
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water.
- Wear light colored and light-weight clothing.
- Eat small meals before working outside.
- Work in the shade as much as possible.
Some possible heat injuries include:
- Heat Cramps: These are muscle spasms that occur when you sweat and your body isn’t replaced with the salt it lost from sweating.
- Heat Exhaustion: This is a result of sweating over a long period of time. Some symptoms include: headache, nausea, weakness, thirst, or confusion.
- Heat Stroke: Heat stroke is the most serious health issue. Heat stroke is caused when you don’t drink enough water during heavy physical labor.
Two of the greatest hazards when operating landscaping machinery include:
- Rollovers: When mowing equipment overturns, causing injury or death.
- Getting caught in moving parts: Serious injury can result when body parts are caught in moving machinery.
All workers should be required to wear protective gear when landscaping. Some protective equipment includes:
- Fitted clothing and no jewelry. Loose-fitting clothing and jewelry can get caught in machinery and chain saws.
- Long pants and sturdy footwear. Long pants and boots protect your bottom half from debris that gets flung from a mower.
- Safety glasses. Safety glasses should be worn at all times. If your face could possibly be hit with debris, it is advised that you wear a face mask as well.
- Hearing protection. When operating noisy machinery, wear ear plugs or muffs.
Electric shocks can cause major injuries. They can cause muscle spasms and cause you to fall, resulting in fractures and other injuries. When electric currents run through the body, they can cause imbalances and heart fibrillations that can lead to respiratory failure or a heart attack.
The most common injuries suffered due to electric shock are severe burns. Electricity can cause three types of burns:
- Electrical Burns: When electrical currents flow through the body and create burns on the skin.
- Electrical Arc Burns: An electrical arc can cause an explosion that produces extremely high temperatures and can burn anyone standing near by.
- Contact Burns: Contact with electrical surfaces can cause burns.
To protect yourself from an electrical burn, always assume that aerial cables are live and at fatal voltages. Never touch a wire, even if it has fallen. Also, stay at least 10 feet away from aerial cables when performing maintenance.
Every work assignment is different and poses different hazards. Being educated about these hazards will produce a safe and healthy work environment for everyone.
Trisha Banks is a blogger for Loewy Law Firm in Austin, Texas. Trisha wants to learn more about workplace safety.