Nothing is more important than your health and safety on a job site. Without it, the job does not continue. Even worse, maybe your business ceases to exist. Even worse than that, it will cause you or one of your employees their lives. Making sure that you are properly protected is priority number one on any job site and in any landscaping business.
This is where personal protective equipment (PPE) comes in to play. This is equipment that you need on your job site that you can use or wear in order to keep you healthy and continuing to work. These pieces of equipment should be supplied by you, the employer, unless otherwise stated in your contract with your employees.
Regardless, as the employer, you should understand the importance of having all of these things in your truck or on your job site at any given time.
Personal Protective Equipment
There is a lot that goes into protecting yourself and your employees. A lot of this protective equipment is not optional, as a business owner you need to do the research to see what your country / region’s labor and health and safety laws require you to have for yourself and your employees at any given job site.
This is not only to protect your business, but to also protect your health. Unfortunately, I still see some people on job sites cutting without proper protection or working without steel toe boots on. It amazes me when I see these people risking their health and safety to make a few bucks.
This does not mean that you need to be wearing a hard hat when you are laying pavers, though in our region we are required to have a hard hat nearby. It does mean that you need to invest in some protective equipment for yourself and your employees.
The following is a list of personal protective equipment you should have with you at all times, whether sitting in your truck or with your on your job site to be used at any given time.
Construction Safety Equipment Checklist
Steel Toe Boots
Respiratory Protective Equipment
The absolute must-have as a landscaper, though there are many of those on this list. Steel toe boots are important to protect your feet, both from stepping on sharp objects and from dropping heavy objects on your toes.
Steel toe boots are a personal protective equipment requirement for you and your employees whenever you are on a job site. If one of our employees do not show up with these, they are not allowed on the job site. You need to make sure that this is a requirement in your business to keep yourself and your employees safe.
Dropping something on your toes is the easiest way to injure yourself on a landscaping job site. Other unexpected objects falling, using a saw, or walking around heavy equipment are easy ways to injure your feet.
Check out our post of three recommended boots for your landscaping needs.
For the most part, these are not required. Though your hands will likely thank you. Concrete dries out your hands and cracks them, as well as cuts them when dealing with sharp edges. Also, you will likely find your hands in positions that will cause your fingers or hands to get pinched. Having good gloves will protect you from these situations and keep you from cutting up your hands.
Though a lot of people are not using them, they are helpful in certain situations and you will likely need to have them for your employees to keep them from complaining. Take a look at our post on the best work gloves.
Cutting concrete brings with it dust. Lots and lots of dust. Unless you are using a dust-free cut off saw or cutting with water, you should be wearing some respiratory protective equipment to protect yourself. Breathing in these particles will lead to many non-reversible complications such as pulmonary fibrosis (hardening of the lungs).
You want to make sure you have the right protective equipment in order to assure your health, as well as your employee’s health, for the remainder of your lives. It is never a smart thing to cut without this protection or invest into a dustless saw.
Every once in a while I still come across a post on Instagram or a landscaper that is still cutting dry without the proper protection. This will come back to bite them if not immediately, then later in their future when they begin to feel the side effects.
You will also need respiratory protective equipment when spreading cement, mixing concrete, sweeping polymeric sand, or any activity that involves fine particles of dust that will damage your lungs. Visit our post on the best masks for construction to learn more about this subject.
Just as having the proper respiratory protective equipment with you when cutting is important for your lungs, having the proper hearing protection is important for your hearing. Regardless of whether you are cutting concrete, using a tamper, or operating heavy machinery, having hearing protection is crucial to protect your hearing.
Cutting concrete produces a significant amount of sound and when you are that close to the action, you definitely want to invest in some proper hearing protection that will cut out that sound and save your hearing. Without this, you will develop tinnitus. This is the constant ringing you may hear that comes with hearing loss or damage to your ears.
I have this problem already, though it likely does not come just from being a landscaper. Listening to loud music or rupturing your eardrum will also bring this side effect, both of which I have done. Being a landscaper and operating loud machinery will also develop this symptom if you are not careful.
Always make sure that you have hearing protection and enough for everyone on your crew who may be exposed to loud noises from machinery in the vicinity.
You can learn more about our suggestions for hearing protection on the jobs site here. If you want a wonderfully designed earbud or over the ear headphones with an amazing fit while sitting flush with the outside of your ear, then the ISOtunes earbuds or ear muff style headphones are what you are looking for.
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Just as important as your lungs and ears are your eyes. And on such a job site that there are particles and small pieces of stone flying around, safety glasses are a must. When cutting, chiseling stone, or just to protect yourself from something hitting your high at any point in time on the job, safety glasses are what the doctor prescribes.
You can learn more about safety glasses for construction workers here.
Though not always necessary when installing pavers, hard hats are generally a must-have for you and your employees on a job site under health and safety labor laws. Make sure that you do your research to see whether these are needed or not, but regardless if you are operating heavy machinery or have anything heavy that could possibly fall on somebody, wearing a hard hat is necessary and not optional.
In our region, it is important that we have them on site with us though if they are not necessary during a certain stage of the installation process, we do not necessarily have to be wearing them. As we said, do your research and make sure you have one for each of your employees. Learn more about different hard hats for construction here.
If you are working on a commercial site or out on a road at any point in your installation, health and safety labor laws would likely require you to have some sort of safety clothing on that makes you visible to everyone around.
These are likely bright colored clothing with reflective stripes on them to keep you seen by everybody around including those on heavy machinery or vehicles driving by. Much like having hard hats, it is important to do your research on what is required at any given time in your construction process, though on residential projects that we are not out on the road we wear our bright colored company shirts.
Not something you may think of when talking about personal protective equipment, but it is something that will be required of you as a business owner. This is to protect you from fires whether from your vehicle, heavy equipment, or even your saw or anything that requires fuel.
It could be a hot day and your saw runs out of gas. You need to open it and fuel it up, but if you do not give it the time it needs to cool down, that gas that you put into it could ignite and you need to have a fire extinguisher on hand to be able to put that fire out.
Do not be caught in a situation like this, or even worse, without having a small fire extinguisher on hand whenever you need it.
Keeping your employees and yourself safe whenever on a job site will keep your company running and prevent any unnecessary headaches in your future. Nobody wants to operate a company where you have injuries that will bring negative attention to your business.
You also do not want to have somebody injured on your job site that you could have prevented. And you definitely do not want to negatively effect somebody’s future because you did not have the proper personal protective equipment for them.
There is a lot you need to consider for your health and safety, as well as your employees. Make sure you do your due diligence and know what you need to have on hand on any job site. Keep yourself and your employees safe and you will be off to running a proper landscaping business for years to come.