Reduce Worker Fatigue and Injuries
Experts advise that posture and body position are equally important considerations for landscape maintenance professionals. Reducing worker injuries reduces costs.
For proper moving, advise employees to walk tall without bending forward at the waist, which places extra stress on the lower back. Avoid off-balance turns when cutting. Instead, keep a good base of support with the feet, and don’t allow the handle to move too far away from the body when changing directions.
Trimming can be the most troublesome maintenance task when one is not position-conscious and patient. Keep the hedge trimmer at waist level with the elbows close to the body. Lifting the trimmers above the waist and extending arms away from the body greatly increases stress on the back muscles. Of course, keeping the trimmers low and close necessitates the use of stepladders on higher bushes and shrubs.
Most gardeners bend at their waist, placing unnecessary stress on lower back muscles. A better technique is to squat with one knee on the ground (use kneepads for comfort). This permits a shorter reach to the ground, less torque on the back, and a more comfortable head position. In fact, workers can place one arm across the thigh for even greater support and stability. Advise workers to change knee and foot positions every couple of minutes.
Making tight rototiller turns (especially next to fences) requires both muscle strength and skillful maneuvering. Walk tall, and keep the tiller handles relatively close to the body for control. Turn in tight circles where possible, and use reverse where blocked, such as corners or fences. Tilting the tiller engine downward changes the balance point and reduces the muscular effort for turning the machine. Let the machine do the work, setting the depth control for progressively deeper churning, rather than struggling to dig too deep on the first go-round.