May 2-6, 2016, is the third annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls. While the OSHA event is directed primarily at the construction industry, landscape professionals can benefit year-round from the tremendous safety information provided by OSHA on fall prevention and posted on the NALP-OSHA Alliance page.
The primary emphasis is slips, trips and falls on construction sites, with falls from elevation being the most hazardous. In the building construction industry the focus is on scaffolding failures and falls, and falls from buildings under construction where the worker falls down a vacant elevator shaft or from an upper floor that does not have the proper barricading.
Slip, trip and fall hazards are critical to our industry segment. Fall hazards impact those NALP members who do above-ground tree trimming, holiday tree lighting treatments, and those who use ladders to trim and prune hedges and trees.
In particular, landscape professionals should use the safety information provided on fall prevention for training and throughout safe work practices, particularly regarding
- ladder safety;
- prevention of electrocution injuries while climbing or working in trees; and
- being properly anchored and tied to the bucket while working from elevated bucket trucks.
Also, don’t forget the importance of using proper slip-resistant footwear to prevent slips and falls while doing groundwork where the surface may be wet and slippery, or when employees are doing winter snow and ice removal activities.
Make sure fall protection is part of your training program for all employees during stand-down week and year-round. For more information, visit www.osha.gov/StopFallsStandDown/. Specific to fall protection, check out www.osha.gov/stopfalls/factsheet.html.
Sam Steel, Ph.D. is NALP’s Safety Adviser and members who have questions about safety best practices, can contact him with questions.