At most landscape companies, employee safety is a top priority. Nonetheless, workplace injuries and accidents happen, especially when you have new and untrained workers. The impact on your workers and your business can be high. Here, I cover the cost of accidents and how to prevent workplace injuries by turning untrained workers into trained workers.
Workplace Injuries by the Numbers
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 2,607,900 nonfatal injuries and illnesses in private companies in 2021, the latest year data is available. It reported another 5,190 fatal injuries. 36 of those deaths were from heat exposure.
The Government of Canada also reported 37,024 injuries in 2020, 15,799 of which were disabling and 49 fatal.
The Cost of Injuries to Trained and Untrained Workers
OSHA lists a variety of potential hazards for landscape workers. Those hazards, when they result in workplace injuries, put your landscape company at risk. The consequences can include:
– Difficulty attracting and retaining employees
– Negative publicity that hurts your brand and reputation
– Costly legal cases
– OSHA fines
– Higher insurance premiums
– Challenges attracting and retaining customers
– Lost productivity
Let’s dig into how and why this can happen.
Difficulty Attracting and Retaining Employees
Word spreads fast. And if your company gains a reputation as being unsafe or not prioritizing employee well-being, you can struggle to attract and retain skilled workers. In an already tight labor market, that puts a heavy burden on your company.
Prospective employees might hesitate to join a landscape company with a history of accidents. In addition, current employees may feel uneasy working for a company that they perceive as risky or that doesn’t care, leading to higher turnover and lower morale and productivity.
How Not Preventing on the Job Injuries Leads to Negative Publicity
Building a reputation as a trusted service provider is critical for landscapers. It’s job one in attracting new customers through word-of-mouth.
When a worker – untrained or not – has an injury on the job, the incident can quickly become a public relations nightmare for your company.
Depending on the severity of the injury, news outlets and social media channels can pick up the story and shine an unfavorable light on your safety practices and policies – not to mention your company name.
Negative publicity can lead to a damaged reputation, making it harder to attract customers and future workers, which negatively impacts profits.
WorkPlace Injuries Can Have Legal Impacts
Workplace injuries can result in costly lawsuits, especially if you’re found negligent.
An injured worker or their family may pursue legal action against your company. They may demand compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Hiring an attorney to defend your company can be financially draining and put a strain on your company’s resources. It may also result in a settlement that can further hurt your bottom line.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) imposes strict standards to ensure employee safety in the workplace. If an accident occurs due to insufficient training or lack of safety protocols, OSHA may investigate the incident.
Noncompliance with OSHA standards can result in significant fines for your company. Fines for violations are $15,625 per incident. Repeat violations lead to even higher penalties of up to $156,259 per violation.
Additionally, OSHA may increase surveillance of your company, and make it more challenging to operate without constant regulatory intervention and diligent oversight.
Higher Insurance Premiums
A workplace injury claim can drive up your insurance rates. Insurance providers will view your company as high-risk and increase your premiums to cover potential future claims. These higher costs can significantly affect your company’s finances and eat away at your profit margin.
Challenges Attracting and Retaining Customers
People want to work for safe companies and people want to hire safe companies with healthy reputations. Accidents that make it to the news, social media, online review sites, or simply the neighborhood gossip mill can all hurt your chances of gaining new customers.
When an accident occurs, work may come to a halt while it’s investigated and the cause remediated.
The downtime can cause significant delays in individual projects and production on all jobs, which can cause financial losses.
Your company also has to deal with the aftermath of the injury. You may have to implement new safety measures and protocols, buy new equipment, and more to get back on track and regain lost productivity. One accident can put any company near, or in, a financial crisis.
The Best Way to Prevent Workplace Injuries for Untrained Workers
Protecting your landscape or snow and ice management company from accidents and injuries starts with investing in training. Training includes courses on equipment use, techniques, and safety standards. It can also include tailgate talks, and supervisor and risk management (aka due diligence) training.
Of course, the best way to train workers is with a method that covers all needed topics, is easy-to-use, inline with current industry standards, regulations, and equipment, and that’s accessible from anywhere.
These types of training are available through landscape organizations, such the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), secondary education certificates, a handful of independent trainings, and the most popular landscape and snow management removal training software – Greenius.
How Greenius Helps You Protect Untrained Workers from Workplace Injuries
Greenius is an online landscaper and snow removal training, retention, and management portal. It let your company:
Train New Hires
Greenius includes weekly tailgate talks that build a culture of safety and keeps everyone engaged. It also offers 100+ short accessible video courses that cover everything from equipment to supervising to safety and regulatory compliance. Crews can take courses on their phone in both English and Spanish. And you can create your own custom courses.
Your new crews get up to speed fast. You can even have new hires take courses before they start. And existing crews keep their skills honed and enjoy professional development, which can increase engagement and retention.
All courses are the same for all employees, ensuring everyone has consistent, standard training.
Prevent Workplace Injuries and Reduce Accidents
When crews are trained on proper techniques and safety, you reduce accidents, injuries, and property damage. Businesses that use Greenius see more than an 18% reduction in workplace accidents. (Based on anonymized data from Greenius users.)
Get, and Stay, Compliant
Greenius lets you, your admin, or crew leads assign regulatory courses to everyone and ensure you’ve done your due diligence. If OSHA questions an incident you have proof of having done your due diligence.
Cover Your Company
Greenius courses include quizzes and scores and records and stores all data. You prevent liability and prove you’ve done your due diligence with easily accessed online records of employee training completion and scores.
Having any worker get injured hurts the worker and your company. From negative publicity and legal implications to OSHA fines, increased insurance costs, and difficulties in finding and retaining employees and customers, the impact to your company can be high and long-lasting.
Having an untrained worker get injured is even worse. The publicity may turn the blame on you for not providing proper training and oversight.
To protect your workers and your company, it’s critical to invest in proper training, safety standards, and risk management strategies. Doing so lets you mitigate the potential risks and safeguard both the well-being of employees and the future success of your organization.
Training doesn’t have to be time-consuming. With Greenius, it can be done online in the truck or on the jobsite – anywhere your workers have a phone with internet access.
Try Greenius for Free
Set up a free Greenius account. Start enjoying the benefits of well-trained employees. And access the benefits of protecting your company and crew from injury.