In the Southeast, fatalities among landscape industry workers have become a growing concern. According to the United States Department of Labor, between the years 2012 and 2016 there were 64 people employed in the industry in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia who died as a result of a workplace injury. In Florida, fatalities have nearly tripled since 2012.
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), along with industry associations and employers are coming together to sponsor a one-hour Safety Stand-Down, which will focus on educating workers about hazards in the industry which commonly cause injury or death. The Stand-Down will be be held at worksites throughout the area on either April 17 or 18 from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. EDT.
“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,” Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA’s regional administrator for the Southeast, said in a press release. “Failing to develop, implement and maintain an effective safety and health program puts workers at risk of being injured on the job.”
During the Safety Step-Downs, employees will voluntarily stop working to conduct safety training on injury prevention with workers that are at risk of falling and being crushed or hit by objects. These are two of the leading causes of industry deaths. There will also be a focus on electrical hazards, which is another common injury risk.
The event is being organized by OSHA, employers in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Florida and the Associated General Contractors of Georgia, Inc.
Through its Alliance Program, OSHA can work with groups committed to worker safety and health. It is their hope to help prevent workplace fatalities, illnesses and injuries. Training materials for Safety Stand-Down are offered in both English and Spanish, and more information can be acquired by contacting Billie Kizer, assistant regional administrator for enforcement programs, at (678) 237-0400 or by checking your local OSHA office.
Employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.