Groundskeepers deserve credit for maintaining the aesthetic appeal and functionality of outdoor spaces. Whether the area they take care of is a sports field, public park or private property, these individuals keep the greenery lush and lawns looking sharp.
While their efforts make a huge difference, the profession has its share of risks. Those earning a living in this line of work should be mindful of the most prevalent injuries.
1. Strains and sprains
Typical chores such as mowing, raking and lifting heavy equipment strain muscles and joints. Repetitive movements, especially without proper warm-ups or stretching, sometimes lead to overexertion that ends in debilitating sprains or strains.
2. Cuts and abrasions
Working with various tools, including lawnmowers, hedge trimmers and pruning shears, exposes groundskeepers to severe danger. The odds of trouble increase when proper safety items, such as protective gloves and goggles, are not used.
3. Slip and fall accidents
Groundskeepers often toil in harsh weather conditions. Wet and uneven surfaces increase the frequency of tumbles. Slippery grass or mud after a hard rain poses a distinct hazard, and unexpected falls may result in fractures or sprains.
4. Insect bites and stings
Maintaining outdoor zones means interacting with nature, including bugs. Groundskeepers remain vulnerable to these pests, which sometimes trigger allergic reactions and infections. Encounters with bees, wasps and fire ants are a genuine concern. Consequences range from mild discomfort to long-term health complications such as Lyme disease.
5. Heat-related illnesses
Working outdoors includes exposure to intense sun. Dehydration, heat exhaustion and heatstroke pose a real threat during the summer. According to the National Weather Service, deaths due to heat are outpacing hurricane fatalities by 8-to-1. Thus, staying hydrated and taking breaks in shaded areas should be mandatory.
While groundskeepers must take precautions, their employers must also do everything possible to improve the job’s safety. Those in charge are culpable when they fail to do so, and one of their workers subsequently suffers.