By Lisa Schaumann
A company’s commitment to safety should be at the core of its business; it demonstrates professionalism, shows a commitment to its employees and to clients, and is critical to the bottom line. When companies have good safety programs they increase the professionalism of the whole industry and help attract workers. That is why the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) has always tracked and had a voice in safety regulations, and works with OSHA and other agencies to share the perspective of landscape professionals and work to enhance safety.
A call or visit from OSHA can strike fear in the heart of a business; but, in reality, OSHA provides great tools and resources in English and Spanish that you can take advantage of all season long for your safety training.
NALP participates in the OSHA Alliance, which works with groups committed to worker safety and health to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. In late spring and early summer, OSHA has several safety campaigns to provide tools and resources on key topics.
In May, OSHA has the National Safety Stand Down when they encourage companies to have tailgate trainings about the topic of ladder safety. It also has Safe and Sound Week in July (https://www.osha.gov/shpguidelines/) to highlight the release of its updated Guidelines for Safety and Health Programs. Its Recommended Practices present a step-by-step approach to implementing a safety and health program, built around seven core elements that make up a successful program. The NALP Safe Company Program is a similar health and safety program that is designed just for the landscape industry (https://www.landscapeprofessionals.org/nalp/nalp/safety-risk-management/safe-company-program.aspx)
OSHA also has an excellent heat safety program that it promotes as it begins to get hot in the summer, and it has dozens of great posters and training and materials in English and Spanish (https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/index.html)
A great way to know if your company is running safely, and according to OSHA rules and regulations, is it to ask for a free and voluntary on-site consultation from OSHA. It may sound scary, but it isn’t an inspection; the On-site Consultation Program offers confidential safety and occupational health advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states throughout the country, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. On-site Consultation services are separate from enforcement, and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury- and illness-prevention programs.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to safety training. There are enough free or low-cost resources in the industry to supply your tailgate training sessions all year-round. NALP’s Safety and Risk Management Resource Center has years of monthly tailgate training articles in English and Spanish (https://www.landscapeprofessionals.org/nalp/nalp/safety-risk-management/safety-risk-management.aspx)
Lisa Schaumann is director of communications at the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP).
Photo provided by NALP.