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Landscaping and the musculoskeletal injury risk

Given our warm climate here in Southern California, landscaping companies are never without tree lines to trim, yards to mow or flower beds to weed. As such, it's extremely important for them to implement the necessary measures to help protect their employees from serious work injuries, as doing so will ensure that their operations run smoothly and efficiently.

While this, of course, means taking steps to prevent traumatic work injuries caused by spinning blades, hot motors and sharp tools, it also means taking steps to prevent the onset of musculoskeletal injuries.

For those unfamiliar with musculoskeletal injuries, they essentially involve some level of pain in the muscles, ligaments or tendons of the body (arm, neck, shoulder, shoulder, leg, hand, knee, etc.), and can be caused by everything from repetitive motions and trauma to overuse and strain. Often, those afflicted with these types of work injuries must miss significant work time, undergo surgery and even face restricted job duties upon their return.

Today’s post will examine a few basic steps that landscapers may wish to consider implementing in order to cut down on the number of musculoskeletal injuries among their work crews.

  • Require employees to perform warm-ups before the start of a work day, meaning a brief stretching period and/or simple regimen of calisthenics
  • Provide employees with gardening gloves that can help increase grip strength and prevent lacerations
  • Provide employees with knee pads, which can limit the strain/pressure caused by repeated kneeling in flower beds and on other hard surfaces
  • Ensure that all garden tools and power tools are ergonomically-friendly, meaning they properly fit a person's hand and limit the amount of bending over that must be performed
  • Urge employees to switch landscaping tasks on a fairly regular basis to avoid overexertion and limit strain on muscle groups 
  • Teach simple lifting techniques, including lifting with the legs, dividing loads into several trips or using a team-lifting approach 
  • Require employees to perform a cool down after the end of a work day, meaning a brief stretching period that can help prevent the onset of sprains, strains and sore muscles during off-hours

To learn more work injuries, and serious and willful misconduct defense, contact our workers’ compensation defense law firm …

This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Source: The Journal and Courier, “10 ways to avoid injury while doing yard work,” MaryJane Slaby, April 29, 2013

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