health and safetylandscape maintenance

Five hernias, really!

By March 24, 2017 No Comments

Five hernias! That was the news an experienced landscaper delivered to his boss. That’s not good. Experienced, senior workers are expected to do a lot in the field. When they go down, production can suffer. Sometimes hernias require surgeries and rehab. They definitely lead to light duties for affected workers. For months.

I’m not a medical doctor, nor is this blog about diseases and ailments. But we must note that hernias happen when abdominal muscles fall out of place. There are many types of hernias. Not one of them is fun.

Key issue: you can get a hernia by lifting heavy objects improperly. That definitely applies to landscaping.

The worker above is incredibly stubborn and set in his ways. By examining his mistakes we can educate future landscape workers and thus avoid future medical issues.


  1. Don’t make tarp “bombs”! If your company uses tarps to collect green debris do a simple pull test once in a while. Can you still pull your tarp along? If it’s becoming difficult, tie it up using slipknots and get a new tarp. This is especially important when you work in hard to access corners of your landscape.
  2. Don’t be a hero! If you or your team mates made a tarp “bomb”, get help lifting it. You won’t look soft. You definitely won’t be a hero in a doctor’s office. Get help with heavy tarps. Big bombs can happen when you are short on tarps, for example. Whatever. Just try not to make them.
  3. Don’t be a tarp slave! Move your work truck closer to your tarps or use a good commercial wheelbarrow. Do not be a tarp slave. It destroys your back and can give you a hernia. It’s also inefficient. Consider my favourite story: working on a boulevard with my crew, weeding and cultivating, I looked up and saw four workers walking away. Each worker had a tarp on his back and I didn’t see them for another 15 minutes or more. That was extremely upsetting since we had a wheelbarrow 15 meters up the boulevard from me. One worker could have done the trip to the truck, maybe two. Not four.



Vas as tarp slave, only do this for short distances



Note slipknots for easy release; if it’s too heavy, get help

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