Stout & Casey
Landscapers: Don't Let the Sun Go Down on You After an Injury
With warmer weather fast approaching in Colorado and across the country, landscaping company employees will have plenty to do. Clearing winter debris and getting outdoor facilities ready for spring is exhilarating but could also prove to be hazardous. In fact, some of the tasks could be life threatening, especially those involving tree trimming and wood chipping.
Your employers are responsible for the health and safety of all their employees, and they must comply with federal safety regulations at all times. Appropriate personal protective equipment must be provided to all workers. Depending on the services a company provides, these may include hard hats, gloves, boots, goggles, fall harnesses, safety lanyards and more.
Precautions to avoid injuries
Working outdoors can pose a variety of hazards, and workers are entitled to the necessary protection. As an employee, you can protect yourself by taking precautionary steps such as the following:
- Equipment -- Lawnmowers, leaf blowers, chain saws, wood chippers and other types of equipment must be in good working order. Checking for potential malfunction before every shift could prevent catastrophic injuries.
- PPE -- Personal protective equipment includes safety goggles, protective shoes, long pants and hard hats. If you have any responsibilities that occur at significant heights, you will need to wear fall protection, and if you cannot hear a co-worker talking without raising his or her voice from an arm's length away, it most likely means that you are exposed to excessive noise and need noise protection to prevent hearing loss. Gloves can protect you from dangerous chemicals and lacerations, and insect repellent can prevent insect bites.
- Chemicals -- Safety data sheets on all chemicals used on the job must be available, and checking all warning labels is important. Some chemicals may require respiratory protection for their use, and gloves will prevent skin contact. Always follow mixing or dilution instruction carefully.
- Heat exhaustion -- Be aware of the dangers of heat and exposure to the sun. You can protect yourself from sunburn and reduce the high risk of skin cancer by making sure you wear proper sunglasses, a hat with a wide brim, long sleeves and sunscreen with a high SPF factor. Make sure you drink enough water and keep a look out for signs of heat illness such as a headache, nausea, elevated body temperature, dizziness and confusion.
- Qualifications -- If you are not qualified to trim trees, operate a wood chipper or other dangerous equipment, then your employer should not have you handling these responsibilities. These machines can cause fatal injuries. If you are qualified, make sure you wear fall protection that is secured correctly.
If you do unfortunately suffer an injury on the job this summer, you will be entitled to pursue financial assistance for your medical expenses and even lost wages if your injury causes temporary disability. You can file a benefits claim with the Colorado workers' compensation insurance program. Some injured workers choose to utilize the services of experienced workers' comp attorneys who can make sure they don't miss deadlines and can navigate the administrative and legal processes for them.