A significant percentage of the Pennsylvania workforce spend most of their time outdoors. If you work in the landscaping industry, you will face some of the same hazards as those that outdoor workers in sectors like construction face. If your employer does not have a proactive safety approach, you might have to come up with your own precautions to stay out of harm’s way.
If you become familiar with the most common safety concerns, you can learn how to protect yourself. The first step would be to make sure you never miss training sessions that can inform you about potential injuries and illnesses in your industry.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, noise measuring more than 85 decibels affect millions of workers each year. Loud sounds damage the hair cells in the inner ear, and the level of exposure determines the time it takes to cause damage. You will know that noise is excessive if your co-workers can only hear you if you shout and if your hearing remains muffled long after exposure. You have the right to ask your employer for ear protection.
The threat of skin cancer
The nature of your job will expose you to the damaging rays of the sun that can cause skin cancer. You can take the following precautions:
- Sunscreen: Use a broad-spectrum, quick-absorbing sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 30 that will protect you from UVC, UBA and UVA rays. Reapply sunscreen frequently.
- Head protection: Always wear a hat to protect your head — preferably a wide-brimmed one that can also protect the back of your neck and your ears. These are both sensitive and also need sunscreen.
- Clothing: Although long pants and long sleeve shirts seem harsh, their protection is crucial. Clothing made from non-synthetic materials can keep you cool.
Choose a sunscreen that is water resistant and reapply frequently.
Working in the heat of the sun also pose a risk of dehydration if you do not take the following precautions:
- Water content: 60 to 70 percent of your body is water, and it is imperative to maintain those levels.
- Recommended intake: The average man should drink 96 ounces of water per day — or 12 8-ounce cups. If you are an average sized woman, your water intake must be at least nine 8-ounce cups each day.
- Frequency: According to safety authorities, if you work in temperatures exceeding 80 degrees Fahrenheit, your body needs 8 ounces of water at 20-minute intervals.
If you wait to become thirsty before drinking water, you are at risk of dehydration.
Lightning strikes are more common than most people might think, and the following precautions might keep you safe:
- Prevalence: The National Weather Service estimates over 1,000 people nationwide suffer lightning strikes every year. An average of 50 of those are fatal, while permanent neurological disabilities affect hundreds of victims.
- Severity: Regardless of the severity of a thunderstorm, lightning can strike even when there is no rain.
- Stay indoors: Safety authorities say you should not go outdoors within 30 minutes of the last thunderclap.
Lightning strikes are not something that only happens to others.
You could still fall victim to work-related injuries or illness despite taking precautions. For that reason, the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system provides benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages. The claims process might seem daunting, but you are free to utilize the services of an attorney who has experience in dealing with workers’ compensation benefits claims.