Safety Stand-Down events aim to improve safety for landscape workers
Employers will volunteer to stop work for training to recognize, avoid on-the-job hazards
ATLANTA - 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 are banding together to sponsor a one-hour Safety Stand-Down in April to focus and educate workers about industry hazards which most commonly cause injury or death. The events will be held at worksites throughout the region on either April 17 or 18, from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. EDT.
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 will stop work voluntarily and conduct 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 will also focus 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 are organizing the effort.
Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with groups committed to worker safety and health to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. Training materials are available in English and Spanish here. For more information, contact Billie Kizer, assistant regional administrator for enforcement programs at (678) 237-0400, or your local OSHA Area Office.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.