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Page last reviewed: 04/24/2008
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Landscape and Horticultural Services

Landscape and horticultural services encompass a wide range of services. Included in this category are companies engaged in landscape design and architecture; soil preparation and grading; irrigation systems; tree, shrub and lawn planting; hardscape construction including: retaining walls, pathways and patios; lawn care and landscape maintenance; arborist services including tree trimming and line clearance.

Many workers in the landscaping and horticulture services industries are Hispanic. OSHA requires that employers conduct all required training of workers in a language and vocabulary workers can understand. OSHA's Hispanic Outreach Module of Compliance Assistance Quick Start, Spanish-Language Compliance Assistance Resources, and Podemos Ayudar (We Can Help) pages identify Spanish-language outreach resources, and detail how employers can work cooperatively with OSHA.

Landscaping and horticulture hazards are addressed in specific standards for the general industry if work is considered maintenance activity and the construction industry if work is considered building activity.

Stone Cutter

Safety and Health Information Bulletin

NewHazards of Operating Unguarded Stone Cutters and Splitters in Landscaping and Other Worksites. (2013, January). A Spanish version is also available.

Standards

This section highlights OSHA standards, Federal Registers (rules, proposed rules, and notices), directives (instructions for compliance officers), standard interpretations (official letters of interpretation of the standards), and national consensus standards related to landscape and horticulture services.

OSHA

Note: Twenty-five states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have OSHA-approved State Plans and have adopted their own standards and enforcement policies. For the most part, these States adopt standards that are identical to Federal OSHA. However, some States have adopted different standards applicable to this topic or may have different enforcement policies.

Frequently Cited Standards

OSHA maintains a listing of the most frequently cited standards for specified 6-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. Please refer to OSHA's Frequently Cited OSHA Standards page for additional information. For Landscape and Horticultural Services, use NAICS code 561730 in the NAICS search box.

Other Highlighted Standards

General Industry (29 CFR 1910)

Construction Industry (29 CFR 1926)

  • 1926.25, Housekeeping

  • 1926.50, Medical services and first aid

  • 1926.51, Sanitation

  • 1926.100, Head protection

  • 1926.101, Hearing protection

  • 1926.102, Eye and face protection

  • 1926.307, Mechanical power-transmission apparatus

  • 1926.403, General requirements (Electrical)

  • 1926.451, General requirements (Scaffolds)

  • 1926.501, Duty to have fall protection [related topic page]

  • 1926.600, Equipment

  • 1926.601, Motor vehicles

  • 1926.602, Material handling equipment

  • 1926.604, Site clearing

  • 1926.651, Specific excavation requirements

  • 1926.1000, Rollover protective structures (ROPS) for material handling equipment

  • 1926.1001, Minimum performance criteria for rollover protective structures for designated scrapers, loaders, dozers, graders, and crawler tractors

  • 1926.1002, Protective frames (roll-over protective structures, known as ROPS) for wheel-type agricultural and industrial tractors used in construction

  • 1926.1003, Overhead protection for operators of agricultural and industrial tractors

  • 1926.1060, Training requirements

Federal Registers

Directives

Standard Interpretations

National Consensus

Note: These are NOT OSHA regulations. However, they do provide guidance from their originating organizations related to worker protection.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

The following voluntary ANSI standards may be applicable to the landscaping and horticultural industry. Compliance with ANSI standards does not ensure compliance with OSHA policy, although the requirements of some ANSI standards have been adopted within OSHA standards. This list is provided for reference use only.

  • A10.14, Requirements for Safety belts, Harnesses, Lanyards, Lifelines, and Drop Lines for Constructional and Industrial Use

  • A14.1, Ladders - Portable Wood - Safety Requirements

  • A14.2, Ladders - Portable Metal - Safety Requirements

  • A14.5, Stepladders and Platform Ladders, Aluminum Magnesium, Fiberglass Ladders

  • A92.2, Vehicle-Mounted Elevating and Rotating Aerial Devices

  • A300, Tree Care Operations - Tree, Shrub and Other Woody Plant Maintenance - Standard Practices

  • B30.5, Mobile and Locomotive Truck Cranes

  • B71.1, Powered Lawn Mowers and Garden Tractors

  • B71.3, Snow Throwers

  • B71.4, Commercial Turf Type Equipment

  • B71.6, Shredders and Grinders

  • B71.8, Tillers

  • B175.1, Gasoline Powered Chain Saws, Safety Requirements

  • B175.2, Blowers

  • B175.3, Trimmers and Brushcutters

  • Z41, Protective Footgear Requirements

  • Z87.1, Occupational and Educational Eye and Face Protection Devices

  • Z89.1, Personnel Protection - Protective Headgear for Industrial Workers - Requirements

  • Z133.1, Arboricultural Operations Safety

  • Z308.1, Minimum Requirements for Workplace First Aid Kits

  • Z359.1, Safety Requirements for Personal Fall Arrest Systems, Subsystems, and Components

Industry Segments

Landscape and horticultural services can be separated into three main segments and each area must comply with both the general industry standards (29 CFR 1910) and the construction industry standards (29 CFR 1926) depending upon the activity being performed.

SIC Code 0781 - Landscape Counseling and Planning. Describes establishments primarily engaged in landscape planning and in performing landscape, architectural and counseling services, including:

  • Garden planning

  • Horticultural advisory or counseling services

  • Landscape architects

  • Landscape counseling

  • Landscape planning

Frequently Cited Standards

OSHA maintains a listing of the most frequently cited standards for specified 6-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. Please refer to OSHA's Frequently Cited OSHA Standards page for additional information. For Landscape Counseling and Planning, use NAICS code 541320 or 541690 in the NAICS search box.

SIC Code 0782 - Lawn and Garden Services. Describes establishments primarily engaged in performing a variety of lawn and garden services including:

  • Bermuda sprigging services

  • Cemetery upkeep, independent

  • Garden maintenance

  • Garden planting

  • Lawn care

  • Lawn fertilizing services

  • Lawn mowing services

  • Lawn mulching services

  • Lawn seeding services

  • Lawn spraying services

  • Lawn sprigging services

  • Mowing highway center strips and edges

  • Seeding highway strips

  • Sod laying

  • Turf installation, except artificial

[Establishments primarily engaged in the installation of artificial turf are classified in Construction Industry, Special Trade Contractors, Not Elsewhere Classified. OSHA maintains a listing of the most frequently cited standards for specified 6-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. Please refer to OSHA's Frequently Cited OSHA Standards page for additional information. For Special Trade Contractors, Not Elsewhere Classified, use NAICS code 238990 in the NAICS search box.]

Frequently Cited Standards

OSHA maintains a listing of the most frequently cited standards for specified 6-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. Please refer to OSHA's Frequently Cited OSHA Standards page for additional information. For Lawn and Garden Services, use NAICS code 56173 in the NAICS search box.

SIC Code 0783 - Ornamental Shrub and Tree Service. Describes establishments primarily engaged in performing a variety of ornamental shrub and tree services, including:

  • Arborist services

  • Ornamental bush planting, pruning, bracing, spraying, removal

  • Ornamental tree planting, pruning, bracing, spraying, removal, and

  • Tree trimming for public utility lines

  • Trees, ornamental: planting, pruning, bracing, spraying, removal, and

  • Utility line tree trimming services

[Establishments primarily engaged in forestry services are classified in Major Group 08. Those primarily engaged in performing shrub and tree services for farm crops are classified in Crop Planting, Cultivating, and Protecting. OSHA maintains a listing of the most frequently cited standards for specified 6-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. Please refer to OSHA's Frequently Cited OSHA Standards page for additional information. For Crop Planting, Cultivating, and Protecting, use NAICS code 115112 in the NAICS search box.]

Frequently Cited Standards

OSHA maintains a listing of the most frequently cited standards for specified 6-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. Please refer to OSHA's Frequently Cited OSHA Standards page for additional information. For Ornamental Shrub and Tree Services, use NAICS code 56173 in the NAICS search box.

Hazards and Solutions

Landscaping and horticultural service workers are at risk of injury from a wide variety of potential hazards in this industry, including exposure to chemicals, noise, machinery, lifting, construction, and weather related hazards. This page helps identify potential hazards and possible solutions to specific activities within the landscape and horticultural services industry.

Potential Hazards and Possible Solutions (General)

Hazards which are of concern across the entire Landscape and Horticultural Industry include:

Potential Hazards and Possible Solutions (For a Specific Activity)

Potential Hazards and Possible Solutions (General)

Cuts and Amputations

Electrical

Heat and Cold Stress

Lifting and Awkward Postures

Pesticides and Chemicals

  • Pesticide Illness & Injury Surveillance. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Workplace Safety and Health Topic. Protects workers by determining the underlying causes of over-exposure to pesticides in the workplace. Surveillance also serves as an early warning system of any harmful effects not detected by manufacturer testing of pesticides.

Slips, Trips, and Falls

Soil Preparation and Grading: Soil preparation is the process of preparing the existing soil material by loosening the sub-grade and mixing in soil conditioners such as topsoil, humus and fertilizer to a quality needed for planting and/or landscaping. Grading is the process of moving soil to the desired elevations and/or designed contours.

Primary hazards include:
 
Solutions:
 
  • Equipment Accidents
  • Train and certify operators.
  • Slips and trips - uneven terrain
  • Wear boots with traction soles.
  • Vehicle Accidents Hauling Equipment
  • Train and certify drivers.
  • Cuts and amputations
  • Stay clear of tiller blades.
  • Hearing loss
  • Wear ear protection.

Irrigation: The process of installing and maintaining irrigation lines has specific exposures resulting in injuries such as exposure to hazardous materials (e.g., glues, cleaners) and exposure to excavations and trenches.

Primary hazards include:
 
Solutions:
 
  • Glue and primer hazards
  • Wear protective gloves.
  • Amputation
  • Stay clear of trencher blades/Inspect equipment.
  • Electrocution
  • Call for utility locates.

Hardscape Construction: The construction of retaining walls, hard surface patios, decks and walkways, water features, wood construction, etc. Injuries result from saw operation, lifting, slips and trips, power equipment noise.

Primary hazards include:
 
Solutions:
 
  • Cuts and amputations
  • Saw training/Ensure equipment safeguards are in place and functional.
  • Hearing loss
  • Wear ear protection.
  • Lifting-related injuries
  • Get help lifting/Lift safely/Stretching.
  • Slips and trips
  • Keep job site clean.
  • Struck by
  • Follow SOP's/Wear personal protective equipment.
  • Trenching/Excavation

Planting - Trees, Shrubs, Lawn: This activity includes such tasks as planting trees, shrubs, and lawn, tree staking, work area housekeeping, and providing safe transport for crew to and from the job site.

Primary hazards include:
 
Solutions:
 
  • Lifting-related injuries
  • Get help lifting/Lift safely/Stretch.
  • Heat stress
  • Drink enough water/Pay attention to body signals/Rest breaks/Work and rest in shade when possible.
  • Cuts and hand injuries
  • Wear gloves/Inspect tools and equipment before use.
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Keep job site clean.
  • Vehicle accidents
  • Train and certify drivers.

Lawn and Landscape Maintenance: This activity includes such tasks as mowing, pruning, fertilizing, general clean-up, blowing, and providing safe transport for crew to and from the job site.

Primary hazards include:
 
Solutions:
 
  • Cuts and amputations
  • Keep clear of rotating mower and brush-cutting blades.
  • Hand injuries
  • Wear gloves.
  • Chemical exposure
  • Read and obey Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) form information/Implement effective hazard communication program that includes employee training.
  • Eye injury
  • Wear protective goggles when using blowers.
  • Hearing loss
  • Wear ear protection when using power equipment.
  • Ergonomics
  • Maintain comfortable mower settings/Use safe-lifting techniques.
  • Vehicle accidents
  • Train drivers.

Tree Care: Tree care companies provide services such as pruning, chipping and removal, plant health care, cabling, bracing, transplanting, consulting, fertilization and lightning protection. Many hazards in the tree care industry are potentially fatal. Exposure to overhead power lines, falling branches and tools, and faulty safety equipment are just a few of the dangers.

Primary hazards include:
 
Solutions:
 
  • Struck by
  • Use PPE (eg, hard hat)/know drop zone.
  • Cuts and amputations
  • Train safe chainsaw use and wear chaps.
  • Eye damage
  • Wear safety goggles.
  • Ear damage
  • Wear ear protection for chipping/chainsaw.
  • Electrocution
  • Comply with the 10-foot power line clearance rule (10 feet + 4 inches for every 10kV over 50 kV). Note: Other Minimum Approach Distances (MADs) may be applicable for trained employees as provided by 29 CFR 1910.269.
  • Slips, trips and falls
  • Use property tree tie-in.

General References

  • Hurricane Preparedness and Response. OSHA. Includes information such as news releases, public service announcements, fact sheets, frequently asked questions, and more.

  • Target Industry Profiles. OSHA. Horticulture and landscape is one of the seven industries selected as part of the strategic management plan.
    • Profile: Landscape and Horticultural Services. Also available as a 197 KB PDF, 11 pages. Provides information for SIC Code 078 - Landscaping and Horticultural Services, including Bureau of Labor Statistics, top 10 cited standards, and potential industry hazards.

Safety and Health Program

The implementation of a comprehensive safety and health program is an important tool in providing both a safe, and profitable, workplace. Also provided here are employer and employee resources for Spanish speaking workers and youth workers that may be present in this workforce. The following references were selected to assist in developing a safety and health program for the landscape and horticultural industry.

Example Programs

General Resources

  • PLANET/STARS Safe Company Program [9 MB PDF, 4 pages]. Professional Landcare Network (PLANET). Describes a program which is designed for companies in the landcare industry that make a strong commitment to safety and want to help move the entire profession toward safety excellence. Safety Training Achieves Remarkable Success (STARS) members receive assistance in improving their safety programs, documenting and measuring injuries/incidents, and reducing their loss ratios. There is no cost to join the STARS program.

  • Job Hazard Analysis. OSHA Publication 3071, (Revised 2002). Also available as a 499 KB PDF, 50 pages. Explains what a job hazard analysis is and offers guidelines to help employers conduct their own step-by-step analysis.

  • Safety and Health Management Systems. OSHA eTool. Indicates four crucial questions you should be asking when it comes to safety and health programs. The detailed answers are found in the four modules of this eTool.

  • $afety Pays Program. OSHA. Assists employers in estimating the costs of occupational injuries and illnesses and the impact on a company's profitability.

  • Safety and Health Management Program Guidelines; Issuance of Voluntary Guidelines. OSHA Federal Register Notice 54:3904-3916, (1989, January 26). Provides safety and health program management guidelines are for use by employers to prevent occupational injuries and illnesses.
  • Safety and Health Add Value. OSHA Publication 3180. Also available as a 200 KB PDF, 6 pages. Describes how safety and health add value to your business, your workplace, and your life.

  • For additional information, see OSHA's Injury and Illness Prevention Programs Safety and Health Topics Page.

Hispanic Worker Resources

Youth Worker Resources

Additional Information

OSHA Consultation

Other Resources


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