Landscapers in Iowa and around the country have dangerous jobs. Less than 1% of the American workforce are employed by landscaping companies, but those workers account for 3.5% of the country’s job-related fatalities. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 200 landscape service workers die in on-the-job accidents each year. Working in the landscaping service sector is hazardous for several reasons. Landscaping equipment often has sharp and fast-moving blades, killing weeds is usually done by applying extremely toxic chemicals, landscapers work in extreme temperatures and pruning trees or digging deep holes increases the risk of fall-related injuries.
Lacerations and falls
Mowers, edgers, trimmers and chainsaws can all be extremely dangerous. Wearing protective clothing like thick aprons, durable gloves and chainsaw chaps can reduce the chances of suffering serious lacerations, but accidents can and do occur. This is why landscapers should always work in teams and have access to medical kits that contain blood clotting agents and tourniquets. They should also use cherry pickers rather than ladders when they prune or trim tall trees, and they should wear harnesses attached to anchored cables when they work near deep holes or sheer drops.
Extreme temperatures and toxic chemicals
Landscapers often file workers’ compensation claims after working in extremely hot or cold weather. Hypothermia and heat stroke are preventable conditions that can be fatal if their early symptoms are missed. These symptoms include nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness and fatigue. Landscapers should keep pesticides and other toxic chemicals in their original containers to prevent mix-ups and accidents. This also ensures that warning labels that provide first aid instructions are readily available.
When landscapers are injured on the job or develop an illness after being exposed to toxic chemicals, they are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits even if they acted negligently. Workers’ compensation benefits cover the costs of medical treatment and provide financial assistance to help injured or sick workers make ends meet. When landscaping companies fail to maintain workers’ compensation coverage or act with gross negligence, injured workers may pursue legal remedies by filing personal injury lawsuits.