Category Archives: safety

Lawn Care Business Owner Robbed

In an ever expanding list of cautions for lawn care business owners we now have to add robbery.

When I first heard that a lawn care business owner had been robbed, I thought a piece of equipment had been stolen from his truck or a customer hired him to perform some lawn care work and failed to pay.

According to Fredericksburg.com, a Virginia lawn care business owner was lured to a vacant property with a phone call. The caller claimed to be interested in having yard work performed on the property. When the man came to the property to give an estimate he was robbed of $500 in cash and a few credit cards.

We always try to lock our vehicles and secure our commercial lawn care equipment to guard against theft. Being robbed of the hard-earned cash in our pocket is something we will have to consider when giving estimates in new or unknown areas.

Lawn Mower and Weedeater Safety

Lawn Care Business operators must observe safe operating practices.

If you have read our course work and materials about how to start your own lawn care business, you know how important safety is when you are operating your own lawn care business.

This morning, as I was driving to an appointment, I heard the familiar sound of a commercial string trimmer and commercial lawn mower.  I detoured slightly out of my way to see if it was a familiar lawn care company.   I didn’t know the guys running the equipment and they seemed to be doing a nice job on the lawn grass they were cutting.

Though they were doing a professional job on the grass, something struck me enough about the scene that I grabbed my camera and took a quick photograph through my window.

What do you notice about this picture?

Lawn mower and weedeater safety
Okay, I am not going to beat up on these guys.  They did quick, efficient work and the grass looked good when they finished.  But,  they need to think some more about safety.

Long-time readers of this blog and of our “Start A Lawn Care Business” program probably already know the safety problems seemingly apparent in this photograph.  Let’s start with the string trimmer safety guard.

1)  Line trimmer safety guards

Look at the weedeater.  Where’s the safety guard?   Apart from holding the line limiter blade, the safety guard provides some protection from flying rocks and debris.  We recommend not removing safety guards.  They are there for a purpose.

2) Lawn Care Operator clothing and safety gear.

The guy with the weedeater is wearing shorts, low rise walking shoes, no hearing protection that I could see, and no safety glasses.  What safety gear/clothing did I miss?

Look at his legs.  He is getting pelted with grass and debris.  What happens if the weedeater slings a rock into his leg causing a gash and then he hits a pile of dog poo that gets into the cut?  (Trust me; I know about weedeaters and dog poo)  I’m certainly not a medical professional but dog poo in an open wound can’t be good for you.

Hearing protection?  “What?”   I SAID “HEARING PROTECTION!!!”  I know hearing protection is uncomfortable and inconvenient.   So what…WEAR IT.

Safety Goggles?  Guys who never wear safety goggle never read this blog….BECAUSE THEY CAN’T SEE ANYMORE!!!   Wear safety goggles!!!!

3)  Awarness of surroundings

The guy operating the commercial walk-behind lawn mower is throwing grass all over the guy who is already covered with grass from his weedeater.  Lawn mowers throw things other than grass.  They also throw sticks and stones…those hurt bones.  Be careful where you aim mower discharge.  Oh, and the guard on the mower?  Yeah, he has it flipped up so it’s not doing any good.

Lawn mowing is dangerous.  Use caution.

If you don’t know all your safety options and obligations, check out the CDC and OSHA at CDC.gov and OSHA.gov.

Good luck guys.  Be sure to check out our Lawn Care Business program.  It is a perfect resource for anyone starting out (and with less than 5 years experience) in a lawn care business.

Lawn Care Workers Should Drink Lots of Fluids (Water)

Place water high on your Lawn Care Business’ safety checklist.

Safety Goggles?   Check
Hearing Protection?  Check
Work Boots?  Check
Sun Screen?  Check

This safety list for lawn care professionals is far from complete but before we go much further we must be sure to place a very important, yet often overlooked, item close to the top.  Water.

Water.  How much is enough to drink?

If you perform lawn care and landscping work outside during hot months you must monitor your water intake constantly through the day.  According to a CDC report*, consumption of approximately one pint of water every 15 to 20 minutes is suggested for most people at risk of heat strain. Dehydration can be insidious and thirst or lack of thirst is not a clear indicator if you are dehydrated or not.  Dehydration can affect the body cummulatively over a period of days therefore if you have not properly maintained your fluid intake during your workday you must catch up before resuming work.  A body weight ratio may help you understand how much water loss occured during your work day.  Again, according to the CDC report, body weightloss during a workday should not exceed 1.5%.  Rehydration should be complete before the next day’s work.

Keep your pee clear.

Another method of monitoring your hydration level is keeping check on your urine.  Urine should be clear, not dark.  If you pee a color approaching that of a school bus you must curtail your work load and properly hydrate yourself.

The CDC discusses hydration in the Lawn Care Business.

Think about what the CDC say the proper hydration rate should be for those at risk of heat strain.  One pint every 15 to 20 minutes.  One pint per 15 minutes equates to 4 pints per hour.  That equals 3 gallons of fluid intake during a 6 hour workday.  This is only a recommendation and your particular need for fluid intake relies on many variables such as personal fitness, general health, outdoor temperature, and level of physical activity required in your work.  You must also monitor electrolyte levels.  People who drink too much water can dilute sodium in their bodies and are at risk of an effect called Water Intoxication.

Water consumption in our lawn care business.

A personal habit we adopted many years ago in our lawn care business was to carry two jugs per person with us each workday.  One jug is filled with water and placed into the freezer the night before.  As the ice melts during the workday we continuously drink from that jug.  The water is always nice and cool and melts about as fast as we can drink it.  The second jug contains a mixture of water and gatorade.  We drink as necessary during the day to maintain proper hydration and electrolyte levels.

Operate a lawn care business?  See your Doctor.

In addition to these suggestions, it is highly advisable that you monitor your health properly.  See a phyician as needed.  Alert your Dr. to your type of employment and have him keep track of your health history with your work in mind.

* http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/FACE/stateface/mi/02mi075.html