The landscape/lawn service industry can be a dangerous place to work. We drive trucks with heavy loads, work with power tools that cut, shred, dig and load - and the days are often long, hot and arduous. Every year several dozen landscape, tree and grounds workers die on the job and hundreds of others suffer serious injuries.
We've got to do a better job. Studies show that 90 percent of all workplace injuries are due to unsafe behaviors.
But apart from reducing the risk of human suffering or death caused by on-the-job accidents, organizations with strong safety cultures and ongoing safety training benefit financially too. And sometimes in a very big way.
Here's a great example, and one that I just learned about in my adopted hometown of Port Clinton, Ohio.
In 2009, my small city of 6,036 people on the western basin of Lake Erie paid $171,184 to the Ohio Bureau of Worker' Compensation. This year it's paying $78,854. That's a savings of more than $92,330, Safety-Service Director Tracy Colston told me.
That BWC $92,000 savings, put in perspective, amounts to $153 for every man, woman and child living in our city.
"Every year for the past five years we've been able to lower the amount we've had to pay thanks to our safety program and to implimenting other things, such as a wellness program, suggested by the BWC," Colston said. "The big thing is reducing lost-time, on-the-job accidents."
Colston singled out Fire Chief Kent Johnson for implementing monthly safety meetings throughout city departments. Colston also praised city employees for cooperating and participating in the safety training.
Said Kent Johnnson, "I do want to thank everybody in the city not getting hurt. That's the name of the game."
Could he have said it any better?