Each year, an average of 197 of the approximately 900,000 workers employed in landscaping services across America will suffer a fatal injury and many thousands more will experience a serious injury. It is estimated that only 1% of the total workforce is employed in landscaping professions, yet the industry experiences 3.5% of all workplace fatalities. Proximity to traffic, contact with electrical outlets, exposure, and falls are the leading causes of accidents.
Causes of Landscaping Injuries
Traffic & Transportation Related Injuries – Landscapers often work in close proximity to traffic while maintaining medians and easements. Speeding or inattentive drivers can easily “clip” a landscaper with their vehicle causing serious injury or death in the process. Further, landscapers may be injured in automobile accidents or loading accidents while transporting machinery between workplaces.
Falls from Height – Landscapers may suffer falls from trees, off ladders, from aerial lifts, or off of high or unstable retaining walls. From short distances, these accidents can cause broken bones and soft-tissue injuries, while from significant heights, the fall can quite easily be fatal.
Exposure – Exposure to extreme weather conditions is common in the landscaping industry. While heatstroke and frostbite are rarely fatal, they can have fatal consequences as they can impede a worker’s mental faculties and diminish their ability to safely operate equipment such as saws, lawn mowers, etc. Workers may also suffer toxic exposure to plants, pesticides, fuel, etc.
Falling objects – Falling objects including equipment, trees or branches can seriously maim or kill landscapers. These objects can cause traumatic brain injury, crushing injuries, lacerations, etc.
Electrocution – Electrocution can occur when landscapers dig into unmarked power lines or step foot into puddles that have become electrified. It can also occur when tools such as shovels, rakes, hoes, etc. make contact with wires from buried sprinkler or lighting systems.
Teens at Considerable Risk
Teenagers are at considerable risk of injury or death while working as landscapers. Inexperience, lack of training, and lack of adequate supervision increase the risk that a teenager will suffer an injury while doing this common summer job. Each year, 60 to 70 teenagers suffer fatal workplace injuries and many of these are employed as landscapers.
Liability for Landscaping Injuries
A work injury attorney can pursue liability against homeowners, an employer, motorist, and others whose negligent actions caused the injury. Liability may also be assigned to equipment manufacturers and equipment leasing agencies who provide equipment that fails or malfunctions causing injury or death during the course of normal operations.