Author, Drew Garcia, Landscape Division Leader, Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc.
Is your company taking the necessary precautions to avoid serious and costly slips and falls from slope work? Many maintenance jobs will require employees to mow, weed abate, or plant on hillside locations as a part of the properties serviceable needs. The injury exposures that come with slope related work typically result in severe injuries. Any injury of this magnitude can result in lost time away from work by that employee and possibly permanent disability.
Take your slope work safety to the next level. Evaluate what percentage of your operations includes this exposure and then proactively manage the risk through tactical solutions. Perhaps when you consolidate your work, you will realize the percentage of the properties in your portfolio that require hillside management is a small representation of your total body of work. Here are a few examples of tactics taken to lower this exposure that we have seen in the past:
- Eliminate the exposure all together by avoiding contracts that require slope work to be performed.
- Consider creating an experienced “slope crew” and train these employees on slope related protocol to ensure they are properly educated. By having a specialized slope crew you’re ensuring this work will be done by properly trained employees.
- Evaluate the time of day slope work is performed. Morning dew can cause slick surfaces and result in an employee losing balance.
- Make sure employees are wearing proper footwear.
- Strategically plan your route up the slope or through the slope prior to engaging in the operation.
- Always complete a pre-job hazard assessment and communicate the information to the crew onsite. Identify loose soil and rock conditions before accessing dangerous areas of the slope.
- Work in horizontal lines across the slope. Dislodged materials can fall on workers below. Remain vigilant for rolling boulders and loose rocks.
Are you doing anything extra special with your slope work to prevent injury? We would enjoy hearing your strategies; please share!
Please contact Rancho Mesa Insurance Services, Inc, at (619) 937-0200 if you have questions about managing risk for the landscape industry.