Fatalities among workers in the landscaping industry are a growing concern in the Southeast. From 2012 to 2016, 64 people employed in the industry in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi died as a result of workplace injuries. In Florida, industry fatalities have nearly tripled since 2012.
To stem the tide, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, industry associations and employers banded together to sponsor a one-hour Safety Stand-Down this week to focus and educate workers about industry hazards which most commonly cause injury or death. The events were held at worksites throughout the region.
Fatalities in the landscaping industry have workplace safety officials and employers concerned. In Florida, the number of workers who died on the job has nearly tripled since 2012. A collaborative effort is underway to help workers better understand the hazards they face, and how to work more safely.
At the Safety Stand-Downs, employers stopped work voluntarily and conducted safety training on injury prevention with workers at risk of falls and being crushed or hit by objects – two leading causes of industry deaths. They also focused on electrical hazards, another common injury risk.
“We are confident that, with the proper knowledge, workers can avoid unnecessary injuries or worse, and return home at the end of each work day. Failing to develop, implement and maintain an effective safety and health program puts workers at risk of being injured on the job,” said Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA’s regional administrator for the Southeast.
The Associated General Contractors of Georgia Inc., OSHA and employers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi organized the effort.