There is a reason why most landscaping firms are so safety conscious. Between inclement weather, toxic chemicals, and angry wildlife, being a gardener is more of a dangerous profession than many would think. Even just the sun can pose an existential threat to the safety of a company’s workers. So, what safety “must-haves” should any company go about getting?
A landscaping company can go a long way with reasoned procedures, a few simple tools, and preparing for worst-case scenarios to stay safe. But, of course, culture will end up making the most significant difference. The little details can make all difference in getting people home at the end of a long day of labor.
Needless to say, there is more to having a safe company than just the simple tips listed above. Knowing how to use them will require more nuance. So, read on for more details on how each recommendation can be implemented for your own landscaping business.
Landscapers Need to Plan for the Worst
The first thing most people who start landscaping companies will see themselves become is weather experts. Forecasts will be scrutinized days in advance so the business can prepare for any inclement weather. Having a plan in place for any freak weather, such as tornados or flooding, can also make a huge difference when the worst happens. Of course, no one likes to lose working days to bad weather, but it is still preferable to someone losing their life in a lightning strike.
Of course, bad weather and accidents will happen, so don’t forget landscaping insurance costs when coming up with a business plan or budget. Plan on at least a general liability insurance plan, which averages around $45 a month. A professional insurance agent will be able to help give you advice on what policy is right for you. Few homeowners will ask for proof of insurance. Still, besides being necessary due to local regulations, good insurance is also crucial for protecting the investment you’ve placed in your landscaping business.
Lastly, you will also need to plan for people to disappoint. No one wants to expect the worst from someone but knowing what to do with an employee under the influence of drugs or alcohol is vitally important. After all, anyone operating a lawnmower while impaired is just as dangerous to themselves as anyone else. Screening procedures for these issues work best when they are there to catch a problem before it happens.
The Right Equipment Makes All the Difference When Landscaping
Let’s start with the basics, like having enough sunscreen and plenty of water. They might seem trivial or easy to overlook, but both of these items are essential on the job—even on cooler or overcast days. Ear protection is also a good idea, and disposable earplugs are acceptable in a pinch. Still, something more substantial is ideal for all-day use.
Other good items for any crew to have on hand include a highly visible uniform that offers ample coverage of both the arms and legs. (Hats and sunglasses are a good idea but don’t have to necessarily be mandatory.) In addition, reflective badging or vests should be incorporated wherever possible so that crews are visible to each other and passing members of the public. A landscape crew uses a lot of loud and sharp equipment, so being mindful of where everyone is can be extremely important.
Lastly, a few items that are nice to have but don’t need to be used on every job. For example, having a good way to communicate, such as two-way radios or walkie-talkies, can be an essential piece of safety equipment when working in larger areas. But on smaller jobs, they may not get used as much.
Good Landscapers Have Good Daily Procedures
The final safety must-have is a series of good company policies and procedures implemented in the business’s day-to-day functioning. The best way to make sure things are done the safe—and right—way is to stipulate how everything should be done.
A landscaping company should have procedures for everything from packing up the truck at the start of the day to safely powering down all equipment at the end of the day. For example, a dull or broken tool is a dangerous tool. Ensure all equipment is regularly inspected to ensure that it stays in tip-top shape. This will include sharpening shears and mowers as dull blades require more effort and are more dangerous. Making workers use blunt implements exposes them to the risk of serious injury on the job.
By giving employees simple and easy-to-follow guidance, you’ll help ensure that every job is handled efficiently and safely. No one should be above guidance, and when everyone follows regulations, everyone will be safer for it.
Safety is Always a “Must-Have”!
As you can likely tell by now, the most significant factor to having a safe work experience for any landscaping company will be to instill it in the culture from day one. Getting hi-vis vests for the entire crew is nice (and still important!). But if no one wears them while they are working on the side of the road, they might as well have left them at home.
In short, make safety more than a top priority or “must-have” for your landscaping business. Make it something that everyone worries about. That level of care will indeed be reflected in all other aspects of the company—likely to benefit customers, employees, and the business greatly!