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How dangerous is outdoor work?

There is a dark side to working in the landscaping industry: people get hurt. And they get hurt, often very seriously, in a variety of ways.

It is estimated that about 200 landscape workers die annually from work-related accidents. In a pool of 100,000 workers, 25 are likely to die on the job.

It is dangerous work. Landscape service workers constitute less than 1 percent of our workforce - yet they make up a whopping 3.5 percent of on-the-job deaths.

The Centers for Disease Control tracks injuries according to people's trades. They break landscaping industry risks into four groups:

Struck by objects. Landscape workers are often caught between heavy objects, rolling vehicles, and falling tools and machinery. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reckons that about three-fifths of contact-related landscaper deaths are caused by falling logs, trees or branches.

Falls. If things can fall on you, you can also fall - from ladders, rooftops, platforms. Many workers hurt themselves by tripping or backing into holes or ditches.

Exposure. Landscape workers breathe toxic chemicals, trigger electrocution with buried lines, or are drowned in ponds and creeks.

Injuries sustained en route to jobs. This group includes car and truck accidents, and accidents occurring during the loading and unloading of materials and equipment. Even sunshine is not your friend if you are working hard and experience sunstroke.

We agree that outdoor work in some ways is healthier than sitting at a desk all day. But let us not ignore the real risks and dangers these workers face.

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