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 Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 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.
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.