DOL Launches Workplace Safety Program for Landscape Businesses

The program specifically serves New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

January 16, 2024

 The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced the launching of a multiyear, “regional emphasis” program designed to reduce worker fatalities and injuries within tree trimming and landscape services industries in New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) program includes two elements. First, the program will provide initial and ongoing outreach to employers, employees, and stakeholders to raise their awareness of the hazards associated with tree trimming and landscape operations. Second, OSHA will conduct targeted safety and health inspections of tree trimming and removal, landscaping services, and site preparation contractors, to assess employer compliance and reduce employees’ exposure to hazards, which include those associated with the use of heavy equipment, such as stump grinders and chippers, and working at elevated levels.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 222 workers in these industries suffered fatal workplace injuries and illnesses nationwide in 2022. Causes included falls from trees and elevated work platforms, electrocution, heat and chemical exposures, and being struck by vehicles, as well as falling trees and branches.

“We want to make these workplaces safer for all workers in this industry,” said Richard Mendelson, OSHA regional administrator in New York. “By intensifying our focus on the tree and landscaping industries, we can help employers provide effective management of worker safety and health protection to reduce the extent and severity of work-related injuries and illnesses.”

OSHA encourages small business employers to use the agency’s On-Site Consultation Program, which provides no-cost assistance with safety strategies, as well as federal safety and health standards compliance.

The program is scheduled to run through fall 2028. 

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