Landscape workers, take note and stay safe: Deaths on the rise

May 05 2017

A recent OSHA news release shows that landscape workers and others in roles related to outdoor work and maintenance are increasingly at risk of injury or death while on the job. OSHA found that fatalities have been steadily rising in this industry since 2012, and that in some states the fatality rate has almost tripled.

While the study mentioned in the OSHA news release concerns a different part of the country (four states in the southeast United States), most of the states referenced in the data are readily comparable to Colorado based on the number of workers in this industry present in each state. As such, Coloradoans should take note of this disturbing trend, and stay vigilant if they work in the landscaping industry.

Colorado: Despite the snow, its the Land of the Landscapers

You may be asking yourself, are there that many landscape workers in Colorado? This question is only natural. After all, when a state is covered by snow for part of the year, how much outdoor work can there be?

The answer – there is a LOT of outdoor work, and a lot of landscape workers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) there are more than 23,000 landscapers, groundskeepers, tree trimmers and outdoor maintenance workers in Colorado. Nearly half of those workers are located in the Denver metro area.

What can landscape workers do to stay safe?

OSHA notes that training this year for landscapers and other outdoor workers will focus on the factors that are most likely to injure or kill these workers. These include:

  • Electrical hazards (live wires, buried cables, electrical boxes)
  • Falling objects (landscape material such as rocks, tools at worksites, tree branches)
  • Flying/launched objects (debris sent flying by power mowers, objects launched by power tools)
  • Falls (falling from height, falling onto objects)

For more information regarding injuries to Colorado landscape services workers, check out this fact sheet created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).