Like many, your Lodge might considering whether or not to hire landscaping professionals or to use volunteers. With volunteers, you could save on budget while engaging the local community. But yardwork, gardening, mowing, tree-trimming, landscaping and horticultural labor does carry the risk of injury, so it’s important to manage the risk.
Risks that Exist
The landscaping and horticultural services provided by professionals is wide-ranging. From simple mowing and mulching, to tree trimming, line clearance, irrigation, planting, architectural design and heavy construction, the services are vast. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the professional industry reports about 13,025 injuries per year. Many injuries are minor such as sprains or strains, but the potential for serious injury exists. Hazards include power tools and machinery, overhead electrical lines, heavy loads, falling objects, slips and falls, exposure to the elements and vehicle traffic.
Before your Lodge decides whether to hire professionals or use volunteers, consider these factors:
Range of Services
If you hire landscaping professionals, you can get an all-in-one solution for all the needs of the Lodge. You can form a relationship with a local company, who may not only be able to take care of the lawn but also trees and shrubs, sprinklers and even the patio.
By using volunteers, you can take full advantage of all the great people who want to help at the Lodge. For simple tasks, like mowing the grass, mulching flowerbeds or raking leaves, volunteers may be a great solution.
Another advantage of using professionals is that most licensed professional landscapers will bring their own equipment. You won’t need to worry about the time and cost of buying and maintaining mowers, trimmers, blowers, chippers and other equipment, which can add up.
If you already have equipment or volunteers are willing to lend their own equipment, again volunteers may be a good solution. However, you may need to train and supervise on the safe and proper use of the equipment.
Experience counts when it comes to strenuous work, repetitive tasks, working outdoors and using power tools and machinery. With professionals, you can also benefit from the best advice about lawn, shrub and tree care.
Your volunteers may have less knowledge and skill than the professionals, which could impact the work and may increase the risk of someone getting injured. But if the work is simple, such as lawn and garden care, volunteers may be able to suit your needs.
Because professionals are more experienced and familiar with their own tools and safety procedures, the risk of an accident is lower. Professionals are trained in tree-climbing techniques, falling and falling object hazard safety, team communication safety systems, traffic and pedestrian traffic control for work sites and proper first aid procedures in the event of an accident.
Volunteers will need to be recruited, trained and managed to reduce the risk of an accident. Improper handling of lawn care tools has the potential to cause a very serious injury. There’s also a risk from overexertion on a hot sunny day, or simple sprains and strains. Frequent breaks, proper yardwork attire, clear instructions and a stocked first aid kit will be crucial if you use volunteers.
Another benefit if you choose to hire landscaping professionals is insurance. All professionals should be fully bonded and insured but be sure to ask before making any hiring decisions. Insurance is key, because landscapers will be on your property as they move heavy bags of grass clippings, mulch and fertilizer and operate machinery.
If you do decide to use volunteers for landscaping around the Lodge, be sure to check your policy. Exclusions may apply to your existing coverage and could expose you to risk in the event of an accident or injury. Having the right coverage can protect your Lodge and your volunteers.
It’s always nice when you can involve volunteers in Lodge activities and fixing up the lawn and landscaping has an immediate positive impact that will make everyone proud of their efforts. Yet it’s important to ensure both the Lodge and your volunteers are fully protected before you head outside.
Review your current policy and check with your insurer to ensure any volunteer activities you are planning outdoors will be covered and that the Lodge will be fully protected.