December 14, 2023

Regional Emphasis Program Targets Hazards in Landscaping, Horticulture

A new Regional Emphasis Program (REP) developed by OSHA is intended to reduce fatalities, injuries, and safety and health hazards in the landscaping and horticultural industries in OSHA Region 9, which comprises the states of Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada, and the Pacific territories American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands. According to the agency, 1,072 work-related fatalities occurred in the landscaping and groundskeeping industry during 2011–2021. Worker deaths in the industry exceeded the national average of other industries in 2021, prompting OSHA to develop the REP. Workers in landscaping and horticulture are at risk of amputations, falls, electrocution, exposure to excessive noise, and heat illness and ergonomic injuries. Additional hazards include those related to the operation of motor vehicles and machinery, encounters with animals or insects, and exposure to pesticides and other chemicals.

OSHA plans to focus on workplaces that provide tree care and related services such as lawn and landscape maintenance; utility line tree trimming; and tree planting, pruning, spraying, and removal. Hazards associated with tree removal, use of heavy equipment, and potential contact with power lines are commonly found in OSHA Region 9 following natural disasters like typhoons and wildland fires, the agency says.

The REP became effective on Nov. 8, 2023, and will expire within five years unless it is renewed. More information about the REP can be found in OSHA’s press release and in the regional instruction (PDF) that established it.