Landscape Contractor / Design Build Maintain

OCT 2018

LC/DBM provides landscape contractors with Educational, Imaginative and Practical information about their business, their employees, their machines and their projects.

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Page 37 of 103

Henry started the company because she wanted to see female workers in clothes that both fit and perform. Henry explains that women in the landscaping work- force have two options; they either wear clothes that fit their bodies but are not de- signed for heavy labor, or they wear men's clothes that are uncomfortable and baggy. Both options are dangerous, as thin cloth- ing can tear and expose skin while extra material can create the risk of fabric get- ting caught in machinery. All members of a team need to be protected from injury, regardless of different needs. The Specifics of Tree Work One aspect of landscape work that is highly complex as far as PPE is concerned is the task of tree trimming. Not only do arborists need to don the proper clothing and equipment to handle tools such as chainsaws, but they also have to use this machinery while high above the ground. Therefore the amount of PPE that is re - quired for such work is much higher than tasks that are completed on the ground. While most landscape workers wear nonslip boots and sturdy gloves, these pieces of equipment must serve double- duty in the case of tree care. When a worker is on the ground, there is a risk of slipping and falling from a standing po - sition; however, a worker in a tree faces a larger risk from a misstep. Gloves are another piece of equipment that is worn across the field. Some companies are of - fering gloves with more traction to grip trees and help workers steady themselves. The most important PPE used by tree trim - mers are safety har- nesses, belts, ropes, lanyards, slings and carabiners. OSHA, in a safety report specifical- ly written for arborists and tree trimmers, offers several general rules for the use of climbing equipment. Ropes that are wet, have been driven over or have been left in the sun should never be used for tree work. These factors can weaken the elasticity and strength of the rope, placing workers in danger. As with all PPE, just the use of the equipment is not enough to keep workers safe; they have to know how to use it and take care of it. The Future of Safety Monitoring Certain researchers and engineers are looking into expanding technology that is used in other aspects of life to fit the safety needs of those who work in labor- intensive careers. For instance, SangHyun Lee, associate professor in the University of Michigan Department of Civil and En - vironmental Engineering, in an interview with, discussed his research into wearable safety sensors for construction workers. The sensors, when worn during work, can assess stress levels, physical demands and risk by tracking heart rate, skin tem - perature and electrical activity on the skin. The data compiled by the sensors could be used to understand and fix com- mon safety problems in the industry. Wearable sensors are an answer to safety risks that are rampant in labor- intensive work due to the ease of using it hands-free as well as the lack of need to stop and record safety data. Because the sensors can record everything auto - matically, workers do not have to worry about holding a heavy, cumbersome sen- sor in their hands or on their backs, or remembering every single safety hazard that they encounter in the field. Lee explains that while mostly health care professionals have been wearing the sensors, he is looking to introduce them to work seamlessly in heavy labor jobs such as construction and, perhaps, the landscape industry. Conclusion Whether by the use of fitting clothing, new equipment attachments or high tech gadgets, investment in PPE for workers in the landscape industry is incredibly im- portant. Such efforts made toward safety equipment can lower insurance premi- ums while also protecting the bodies and lives of those employees who make the landscape industry work so well. LC DBM Above According to the SeeHerWork website, the number one complaint of women re- quired to wear high-visibility vests on job sites is fit. This Class 2 Safety Vest that was designed to fit female body types exceeds ANSI / ISEA Class 2 requirements. Gloves offered by the company, like these Impact Gloves, fit the female hand and close tightly around female wrists. Right This type of wearable technology could monitor heart rate, blood pressure, electrostatic charge on the skin, rise or fall in temperature, fatigue and other vital signs that our bodies give when we are distressed. Report- edly, this information could lessen jobsite accidents. These sensors are currently in the research phase and are unavailable for purchase. 38 LCDBM

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