Landscape, gardening, and groundskeeping workers offer diverse services - everything from tree trimming and lawn care to installing irrigation systems and hardscape construction. However, this broad range exposes workers to various safety hazards. From moving machine parts to extreme heat exposure, falling trees, and handling toxic chemicals, the risks of a terrible or catastrophic work accident are significant and are not be underestimated.
A closer look at landscaper and groundskeeper safety
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the period from 2017 to 2021 saw a staggering 1,334 work-related fatalities in the landscaping and grounds maintenance industry. Shockingly, in 2021 alone, 225 industry workers suffered fatal workplace injuries. Meanwhile, in New Jersey, there were about 700 reported cases of landscapers injured or made ill due to work - and 11 deaths.
While it is legally the responsibility of an employer to provide a safe working environment for employees, understanding occupational risks can help workers stay safe and avoid potential injuries.
While being struck by vehicles remains the leading cause of fatal injuries in the industry, workers face significantly more hazards that can lead to severe or fatal injuries. According to the Department of Labor, the most dangerous tasks handled by landscaping and groundskeeping workers include soil preparation and grading, irrigation, hardscape construction, planting, lawn and landscape maintenance, as well as tree care. The following are the most common types of hazards faced by landscapers.
Motor vehicle accidents
Landscapers often travel from one site to another in trucks or vans. Long hours on the road, fatigue, and distractions can lead to motor vehicle accidents.
Exposure to chemicals (e.g., fertilizer, pesticides)
Improper handling or lack of protective gear while applying these chemicals can result in skin irritation, respiratory problems, or even poisoning.
Lack of personal protective equipment
Landscapers are at a higher risk for injury and illnesses without proper PPE, such as gloves, safety goggles, or masks.
Moving machine parts
These include mower blades, trimmers, and other equipment. Safety protocols and proper equipment maintenance can help avoid work accidents and severe injuries like cuts, lacerations, and amputations.
While there are many opportunities for landscapers to come in contact with electric power, trimming trees and bushes near power lines puts workers at the highest risk for electrocution. A misjudgment or improper use of tools can cause contact with live wires, leading to severe injuries or death.
Exposure to extreme summer weather
Without regular breaks for rest and hydration, workers may suffer from heat exhaustion.
Landscapers often use noisy equipment such as leaf blowers, chainsaws, and lawnmowers. Prolonged exposure to high levels of noise can cause hearing damage over time.
Lifting in awkward postures
Landscapers may frequently lift heavy bags of soil, planters, or equipment. Lifting in awkward positions without proper lifting techniques can strain muscles and cause musculoskeletal injuries like back sprains and pulled muscles. This type of injury typically requires extended rest to heal.
Don't pay out of pocket for work accidents in New Jersey
In New Jersey, whether a landscaper is injured on the job due to negligence or human error, they are entitled to compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and possibly more. Shebell & Shebell, LLC has extensive experience helping injured workers in New Jersey get the compensation they deserve after a bad work accident.
Whether through a workers' compensation claim, lawsuit, or both, our experienced workers' compensation attorneys can guide you through the process to maximize results. If you were injured in a work accident in New Jersey, contact us for a free case consultation.