Landscape workers in New Jersey and elsewhere have some of the most dangerous jobs in America. According to data from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, landscapers make up less than 1 percent of the U.S. labor force, but they account for 3.5 percent of all work-related deaths. Of those deaths, 75 percent occur during tree removal or tree trimming.
The Tree Care Industry Association reports that the most common types of tree-related accidents involve falls, being struck by an object and electrical contact. Currently, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has no comprehensive standard to prevent such accidents. However, the agency has issued recommendations for tree care contractors and workers to follow.
Employers are encouraged to team with workers to develop safety programs and procedures for tree care. They are also urged to conduct daily worksite safety surveys, train workers to identify and avoid workplace dangers and monitor workers for signs of heat-related medical conditions. Meanwhile, tree workers are encouraged to use appropriate safety gear, including climbing belts, harnesses and saddles. They are also urged to identify power lines before starting to work and to establish a safe zone away from trees that are being serviced. They should also know the capabilities and limitations of their equipment and learn the warning signs of heat-related illnesses.
Landscape workers who are injured on the job have the right to file for workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits are designed to help injured workers pay their medical bills and support their families while they recover. An attorney may prepare a workers’ compensation claim to help ensure that a worker receives all the benefits he or she is entitled to.
Source: EHS Daily Advisor, “Taking Care of Tree Care Workers: OSHA Recommendations,” William Schillaci, Aug. 8, 2018