February 15, 2014
For Landscape Ontario Safety Group members, both the number of days lost to accidents and severity of injuries rose in 2013 — for the first time in three years. These are the disappointing results of a safety report card released by the Workplace and Safety Insurance Board (WSIB).

While average time lost per horticulture industry accident is lower than for agriculture, it is up sharply from 2012. Severity of group member accidents for 2013 also trended higher, and even surpassed agriculture’s rate.

Landscape Ontario has sponsored Safety Groups since the late ‘90s when WSIB rates for the landscape industry were considered too high. After the group was formed the industry’s rates improved.

Sally Harvey CLT, CLP, Manager of Education and Labour Development at LO, says, “The increase in lost time injury frequency and severity disappointing. This report reveals real opportunity for the industry to improve on safety orientation and training of staff to ensure that we prevent worker injury. The majority of injuries last year were unique, including allergic reactions, falls from non-moving vehicles, workers struck by vehicles and from operating vehicles and or working around equipment/vehicles. Unfortunately we continue to experience repetitive motion injuries.”

Harvey says that the statistics point to the need for all employers to enhance training in regards to awareness around the hazards of the industry to empower staff to implement prevention strategies on the job, so that everyone returns home safely each night.

The most common injuries listed in the graph are fractures, bruises, contusions and concussions. The most common causes are contact with skin, fall from non-moving vehicle, and overturned-non-highway accident. The most common body parts injured were lower legs, brain and knees.

LO offers a number of safety training resources at www.hortrades.com. Click on Safety under the Resources and Services tab.