Keeping your crews safe is an ever-present issue that you face daily, whether you are mowing turfgrass or applying chemicals. Last year, Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) issued 161 citations totaling $67,423 in penalties to professionals in the Green Industry. In order to avoid costly citations, you must provide a safe workplace and understand what OSHA might focus on in your business. By looking at last year's OSHA citations, you can determine where to focus your compliance activities.

Hazardous Workplace citations were the most costly, with an average cost of $1,542. Most of the hazardous workplace citations for the lawn care industry occurred with usage of vehicles or heavy equipment, and safety in and around traffic.

The most frequently cited regulation was Personal Protection Equipment with 31 citations. OSHA discovered that employers were not providing necessary equipment based on the job hazards, including safety glasses or goggles, hearing protection, hard hats, gloves and safety shoes.

Improper excavation had only 5 citations last year, but they were the second most costly. If you perform excavations or trenches 5 feet deep or greater, the employer must provide a protective system to prevent cave-ins.

There were 14 Hazard Communication citations issued last year and the average cost was $49 per citation. Hazard communication is cited when companies require their workers to use chemicals, including gasoline, without informing them of the hazards of these materials. Employers also need to provide a comprehensive hazard assessment of the chemicals they use.

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