Now that landscaping season is underway, keep safety a priority
With the landscaping season now in full swing, it’s important to make sure that you think safety is everyone’s priority. Many landscaping companies put a lot of emphasis on safety early in the season but fail to keep up with refreshments and new training on best practices and safety. But one mistake can lead to injury or an accident – so this topic should not be taken lightly.
Sam Steel, Ed.D., is a security professional available only to members of the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) to answer questions and provide advice on security issues. Steel has shared some of its best safety tips to help landscapers make smart decisions as the season progresses.
Stay up to date
Steel says that for a smart security plan you need to keep your finger on the pulse of your company. To this end, he advises carrying out regular security audits. This will help you understand exactly where the risks are and what areas your employees need further training in.
In addition to seeing what is happening now, you can also view historical data to track and measure your success. Steel says this can be achieved by looking through your insurance claim history. What were your problems in the past and how did you solve them?
Implement the buddy system
Since new team members can join in the course of the season, it is important that they are not just thrown into the mix without guidance. For this reason, Steel recommends a buddy system. All new employees should be paired with an existing employee regardless of how much experience they bring to the job.
“The buddy system is a good practice,” says Steel. “It has worked for many companies for decades and is a great way to reduce your exposure to new employee accidents. Just make sure you pick seasoned team members who are already safety conscious to serve as pals. ”
Steel also insists that it is important to communicate security regularly. At the beginning of the season, safety has to be more than a one-off conversation. It should be part of the daily conversation. Make safety refresher a part of the daily mess and don’t be afraid to cite near-misses as examples of how the company can improve.
“You can learn from these close discussions,” says Steel. “But if it is not discussed, this is a missed opportunity. Talk about what could have been done differently so that there would be no real accident next time. ”
Demonstrate top-down security
It’s also important that you not just talk about safety, but demonstrate it, says Steel. You can’t prioritize safety if there are managers who don’t follow the same protocols as the rest of the team. If, for example, everyone on the construction site wears a hard hat because of tree work and a supervisor shows up but does not put on one, that only sets the wrong tone.
“Security has to come from top to bottom,” summarizes Steel. “You have to practice what you preach.”