Protect Your Working Teens from Strains and Sprains
The landscaping industry offers thousands of workers full-time employment throughout the year. But, when summer arrives, it also provides many teens an opportunity to gain valuable work experience. Like all jobs, however, the landscaping industry does have its share of workplace hazards. With that in mind, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched a Teen Summer Job Safety Campaign that focuses on helping young workers stay safe throughout the coming summer.
The campaign, recently launched by OSHA, is a multi-year project to increase awareness about workplace hazards, and provide possible solutions to those hazards, for young workers and their parents. The campaign focuses on industries in which young people are likely to work during their high school and college years. The first year targets the landscaping industry; and one of the workplace hazards often found in that industry include any of a group of actions that can result in strains and sprains.
Lifting, lowering, carrying, pushing and pulling are all job tasks that can cause strains and sprains, particularly when combined with heavy loads, twisting movements, and working in awkward positions. The following reminders and tips are provided to help teen workers avoid the debilitating effects inherent with strains and sprains, while helping to keep them safer and more healthy as they enjoy their summer work experiences.
Help Your Teen Learn:
- Physical exertion, especially in awkward positions, can result in sprain- and strain-related injuries.
- Back, neck, and shoulder pain are common signs of physical stress.
- Workers can redesign tasks in order to 'work smarter -- not harder'.
Help Your Teen Learn They Can Protect Themselves By:
- Bending at the knees, not at the waist, when lifting, and holding loads close to the body when lifting or carrying.
- Turning the whole body -- don't twist -- when lifting and lowering objects.
- Avoiding squatting, over-reaching, bent-over postures, and repeated forceful gripping.
- Using carts and dollies to move materials.
- Changing tasks and postures frequently to avoid repetitive stress.
- Avoiding lifts from the floor or above the shoulders.
- Placing handles on containers and using tools that fit the job.
Look for more OSHA articles highlighting ways teens can identify and prevent other worksite hazards in the landscaping industry.
More Resources Available
For additional information on young workers and the landscaping industry, visit the following links on the World Wide Web:
Teen Summer Job Safety Campaign
Teen Workers Web page
Safety and Health Topics Page on Landscape and Horticultural Services