Preventing work-related risk factors in landscaping trades: our ultimate guide

12 January 2021
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If adverse working conditions have been greatly reduced by new rules and technologies, landscaping is still one of the sectors with the most work-related accidents including musculoskeletal disorders, osteo-articular lumbagos and lesions as well as biological or chemical incidents. Can landscapers do anything to prevent these occupational hazards? Yes! Our sector is intelligent and has a host of “must” risk prevention ideas.

Preventing work-related risk factors is an obligation for all landscaping companies

Prevention aims to foresee worker exposure to risk factors, making it possible to reduce work-related pain and accidents in landscaping. It is incumbent on each individual employer in the sector to protect employees from hazards. In France, risks are classified as follows:

  • Manual handling of loads
  • Painful postures
  • Mechanical oscillations and vibrations
  • Dangerous chemical agents
  • Noise
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Work in hyperbaric conditions
  • Night-work
  • Repetitive work
  • Successive swing-shift team work 

For landscaping companies, the rules are even tougher as the incidence of accidents in the profession is one of the highest of all. In 2014, it was ranked 4th worst by the MSA (French Agricultural Welfare Insurance) alongside farm equipment cooperatives and agricultural work contractors. The biggest landscaping risks are musculoskeletal disorders, cuts and falls.

In 2017 Unep, the profession’s French Trade Association, created an approved frame of reference for painfulness to assist landscaping firms, accessible to all (only in French).

Read all our articles on work-related risk factors prevention in landscaping trades

How to build effective work-related risk factors prevention in landscaping trades

Work-related pain and disorders are not obligatory in landscaping provided that each company develops a good prevention policy for everyone, from the employees to the boss. There are several “tools” to do this involving management and human resources, as well as innovative equipment and a change of approach to landscaping. This article lists everything available and examples of how it should be used.

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Innovative landscaping materials aim to improve health and safety at work

At every new Paysalia trade show, innovations are regularly launched to combat physical risks in landscaping. Some reduce noise levels, vibrations and landscaping equipment weight and others more specifically target the mechanization of pointless or repetitive gestures. The sector is going all out to protect the health and safety of landscapers!

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An expert opinion on landscaping equipment and employee wellbeing

For the Pellenc company, winner of a Paysalia Innovations Trophy in 2017 for its innovative and ergonomic batteries with harnesses, work-related risk prevention is a top priority. This interview with Marketing Director Claire Lacroix proposes a comprehensive view of cultural differences in green space maintenance and the major landscaping equipment problems the sector has to resolve.

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Using exoskeletons to preventing MSD is no longer a dream for landscapers! 

Some of the main risks in landscaping trades are musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). With exoskeletons, a logical solution only developed for our sector quite recently, MSD will perhaps soon be ancient history! This landscaping innovation not only reduces physical fatigue but also gives landscape designers new possibilities. Several companies have already tested this landscaping equipment worthy of science fiction in real-life conditions under the expert eye of Unep, which reported on these opportunities during Paysalia 2019.

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Never underestimate the importance of landscaping equipment maintenance!

Providing employees with top quality PPE equipment is already a major step in work-related risk factors prevention, but it is easy to forget that this equipment needs regular servicing. In this interview S20 Equipments, a prize-winner at the 2017 Paysalia Innovations Trophy awards for its High Performance drying cabinets, evokes the consequences of badly maintained work overalls and gear and what the landscaping sector needs to do better.

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The prevention of work-related risk factors is vital for the sector and it is vigorously seeking new solutions. This approach attracts youngsters, facilitating recruitment for landscaping companies which often find it difficult to recruit new employees and apprentices.


© Photo credit: Lightfield Studios / Adobe Stock 

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