Landscaping workers use power tools and handle pesticides and herbicides as part of their job duties. They are at risk of being injured on the job. First-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service, and groundskeeping workers are 18th on the list of the 25 most dangerous jobs in America. Any job that exposes workers to risks that can cause harm, damage, or injury is a dangerous job.
Over 1.3 million people throughout the United States are employed in occupations that fall in a general category called Grounds Maintenance Workers.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes the following occupations in this category:
- Landscaping workers
- Groundskeeping workers
- Pesticide handlers, sprayers, and applicators
- Tree trimmers and pruners
If you have been injured while employed as a groundskeeper or landscaper in South Carolina, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. A workers’ comp claim may allow you to receive fully paid medical care and partial replacement of lost wages. However, you need to select a doctor from a list provided by your employer or their workers’ compensation insurance representative.
If you are unable to work for more than seven days, you may receive a weekly check for a portion of your lost wages calculated based on your earnings during the four quarters prior to your injury.
Depending on the extent of your injury, you may be able to receive long-term disability benefits for up to 500 weeks. Payment for vocational retraining and other expenses that you experienced as a result of your work-related injury are possible.
If your injury was caused by someone other than your employer, you may have a right to file a personal injury claim and seek damages. The attorneys at the South Carolina Joye Law firm have over 250 years of combined litigation experience. Our personal injury attorneys will work hard to get you the compensation and benefits that you are entitled to receive.
Landscaping Industry Risks
Ground maintenance workers are responsible for keeping outdoor areas surrounding homes, businesses, parks, golf courses, and cemeteries attractive. Their work takes place outdoors in all sorts of weather. Some landscaping workers also work indoors caring for gardens and plants at commercial facilities such as office and apartment buildings, hotels, and malls.
Tasks performed by landscaping workers are physically demanding, and often require the use of dangerous and hazardous materials and equipment. For example, hazardous substances can include chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and insecticides. Dangerous equipment includes powered and non-powered hand tools and motorized equipment such as lawn mowers, hedge trimmers, chain saws, and stump grinders. Truck-mounted lifts used for tree-trimming and backhoes used for grave digging are common machinery used by landscape workers.
At-risk situations for landscaping workers include transportation-related injuries because workers often need to travel between job sites. Once on the job site, landscaping workers are at risk of injury from contact with objects or equipment. Consider the risks associated with two kinds of equipment–mowers and snow throwers. Using walk-behind rotary mowers can result in severe injuries to and even amputation of fingers, hands, feet, and toes if contact with the mower blades occurs. Similar hazards exist for snow throwers due to rotating auger blades.
Loss of stability is a hazard associated with riding mowers. There is a risk that the mowers can overturn and run over or crush riders. During 2008-2010, about 90 fatal accidents per year involved riding mower tip-overs.
Landscaping workers also are at risk of injury from:
- Electrocution – caused by digging near electrical wires or trimming trees near power lines
- Heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, fainting and dizziness caused by heat, heat rash
- Cold-related illnesses, such as hypothermia, frostbite, trench foot, and chilblains
- Lifting and awkward postures
- Noise – chronic noise exposure can lead to ringing in the ears and/or hearing loss
- Pesticides and chemicals
- Slips, trips, and falls
Common Landscaping Injuries
The most common landscaping worker injuries are caused by:
- Overexertion – 23%, especially while lifting (13%)
- Falls on the same level – 7%
- Falls at a lower level – 5%
Overexertion, or excess stress on the body, is more serious than most people realize. It can lead to mild or severe injuries and health conditions. For example, overexertion can lead to dehydration, which can be resolved by resting and drinking water. If left untreated, chronic dehydration can lead to high blood pressure and kidney stones.
Overexertion also accounts for hundreds of thousands of emergency room visits each year, and it is a common cause of workers’ compensation claims by landscape workers.
Many different physical activities need to be carried out daily by landscape workers. Tools and equipment must be unloaded, carried, used, and put away after use. While using the tools and equipment, landscape workers may have to bend, crawl, reach, lift, dig, twist, turn, carry, walk, push, pull, climb, shovel, and more. These activities frequently take place in extreme temperature and inclement weather conditions.
Injuries sustained by landscape workers include:
- Sprains and strains
- Cuts, lacerations, and punctures
- Struck by an object
- Bruises and contusions
- Soreness and pain, without a specified injury
The body parts most frequently injured are:
It should come as no surprise that back injuries in the landscape industry comprise 25% of the body parts most frequently injured. If you are a landscape worker who has been injured on the job in South Carolina, you might not be able to return to work until your injury heals. If your injury was severe, you might never be able to return to your job. You should seek the help of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who knows the law, can file all the necessary workers’ compensation paperwork, and pursue the maximum payment and benefits you deserve.
Several studies have shown that hiring an experienced workers’ compensation attorney, especially after an initial claim has been denied, results in almost 50% more in benefits. In addition, more than 80% of claims that were initially denied, were eventually settled. You can get help with your landscaping workers’ compensation injury from the Joye Law firm.
What to Do After a Landscaping Injury
If you have been injured while working at a landscaping or groundskeeping job in South Carolina, we recommend you take the following steps:
- Get medical treatment as soon as you can. Be sure to tell your doctor you were injured while working. Keep all follow-up medical appointments and cooperate with any work restrictions.
- Tell your employer that you were injured even if you think your injury is only minor. Have a family member, friend or attorney notify your employer if you are not physically capable of doing so.
- Ask your employer if you are required to go to a particular doctor, hospital, or clinic for treatment.
- Record and maintain a record of the date, time, and name of the person you spoke to at your employer.
- Record and maintain the names and phone numbers of any witnesses to your injury.
- Take photographs of the tools or equipment that you were using at the time of your injury.
- Take photographs of any injuries and any subsequent bandages, braces, casts, etc.
- Contact the workers’ comp for landscaper’s attorneys at the Joye Law firm.
It is especially critical to tell your employer you were injured at work, and to do so within 90 days of your injury.
There are other specific forms and strict deadlines for filing workers’ compensation claims in South Carolina. A fundamental rule to remember is that the statute of limitations to file is two years from the date of injury.
Any mistake might mean you lose your right to file a claim and receive benefits. Get help with filing your workers’ compensation claim from a Charleston workers’ comp attorney at Joye Law firm. The attorneys and their staff will guide you through the process with respect, compassion, and care.
Contact the Joye Law Firm – South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
The Joye Law firm has more than 40 years of experience representing people injured in work-related injuries throughout the state of South Carolina. We have offices in North Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Columbia, and Clinton. Our firm is rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau, and our attorneys have received some of the highest peer-reviewed professional accolades for their legal expertise, communication skills, and ethical standards. For a free, confidential initial case evaluation, contact us today, or call us at (888) 324-3100.