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Helping Minnesota landscapers avoid injuries

From hazardous chemicals and dangerous equipment to bad weather, there are a number of risks landscapers in Minnesota face daily. According to reports, each year about 200 landscaper service employees suffer a fatal injury while they are working, such as falls, lacerations and chemical burns. Here are some safety tips that might make the job easier.

Because one of the main causes for injury to landscapers is vehicle accidents, it is vital that landscapers wear appropriate clothing while working, such as bright-colored vests and reflective clothing to make them more recognizable to drivers. They should also use warning signs along roadways if they will be working within 15 feet from where vehicles are traveling.

Landscapers should always wear safety gear, including hardhats, hearing protection, safety glasses and proper footwear that prevents slipping. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's regulations, hardhats are required for those working under machinery, below coworkers or under places where they could be injured from falling debris. During 2012, there were 65,000 work-related head injuries, and in 2015, more than 1,000 deaths.

Another tip is to keep landscaping equipment sharp, because not only will it produce a better cut, but this also helps workers avoid repetitive stress injuries. Dull blades require landscapers to work harder, causing undue strain. It is also a good idea to shut off equipment while sharpening the blades to prevent accidental starts, which can lead to amputations and other severe injuries. Further, landscapers should be fully knowledgeable in the use of tillers, mowers and other dangerous equipment.

Landscapers injured on the job have a right to file a workers' claim for their losses directly related to the workplace injury or illness, such as medical expenses and income losses. If they are denied the benefits, or the amount of compensation is less than they expected, they might want to obtain legal guidance.

Source: Total Landscape, "Safety Tips: Simple ways to avoid workplace injuries as landscapers", Dennis Kaminski, March 9, 2017

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