Every year, more than 70,000 people visit the emergency room due to lawnmower-related injuries. Still, for professional landscapers, that's just one of the many occupational hazards they face daily while on the job.
According to a report by Occupational Health & Safety magazine, lawn care professionals, groundskeepers, gardeners, and others in the landscaping field often sustain severe work-related injuries that require medical treatment and force them to miss time from work.
In Ohio, injured landscapers can pursue workers' compensation benefits to cover the cost of their medical expenses and a portion of their lost income. However, handling the claims process alone can be challenging, confusing, and frustrating.
An attorney can review the details of your work accident, explain your options, and help you navigate the workers' compensation system. Whether you're just getting started in the process or your claim was denied and you want to appeal, it's to your benefit to seek legal advice about your situation.
The key is to schedule a free consultation with an experienced workers' compensation lawyer so you can clearly understand your legal rights and options. The longer you wait to talk to an attorney, the more you risk losing out on the benefits you're entitled to under Ohio law.
Common landscaper hazards
Landscapers that have to operate or ride a lawnmower are at risk for injury. Most lawnmower injuries occur when the proper protective equipment is not worn, and the mower is not correctly maintained. Occupational Health & Safety recommends the following safety tips when using a mower:
- Before use, check the area you're going to mow for any obstacles such as sprinkler heads, debris, or holes, and remove them.
- Also, before use, inspect the mower. Check for loose or damaged hardware and whether safety guards are present.
- While riding a mower, drive up and down a slope rather than across. This prevents the mower from overturning. While walking behind a pushmower, use the opposite technique.
- Before refueling the mower, turn off the engine and let it cool. Vapors escape during fueling, so leaving the engine on could create an ignition.
Many of the hand tools used by landscapers are non-power tools, but that doesn't mean they aren't hazardous. Potential injuries from hand tools like shovels and pruners include bruises, cuts, sprains, back problems, and carpal tunnel syndrome. To protect yourself from injuries while using hand tools, make sure to:
- Always cut away from yourself.
- Keep the blade sharp. Although sharp tools are a hazard of their own, dull tools can be just as dangerous. When the edges of a tool are dull, you have to work harder to make cuts. This causes muscle strain and increases the risk of you losing control of the tool.
- Have your target in reach. If you overreach, you can lose your balance and fall.
- Protect your eyes. Wear goggles to prevent debris and dust from blowing into your eyes.
Increasingly high temperatures can put landscape professionals at risk of heat stroke and heat exhaustion. To protect yourself from these serious medical conditions, keep in mind three simple words: water, rest, and shade.
Falls from height, falling debris
Landscape professionals have to be cautious when working from above and below. They have to watch out for falling branches and avoid falling themselves from ladders and other equipment.
Power lines are another hazard that can cause severe injury to landscapers. Tree branches and tools can conduct electricity when they come into contact with a power line. As a result, electrocution is one of the leading causes of death among tree service workers.
Talk to an experienced workers' comp lawyer in Ohio today.
If you've been hurt on the job in Ohio, you have the right to seek workers' compensation benefits. Unfortunately, obtaining the benefits you deserve is often easier said than done.
At Hochman & Plunkett Co., L.P.A., we have more than 150 years of combined experience successfully handling complex cases. We understand how to build winning cases in Ohio and look forward to seeing what we can do for you. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about how we can help with your potential legal case.