Keeping your workers and customers safe against COVID-19

Sanitation in your workplace

We know that agricultural operations and workers are essential. But now that we might enter a “new normal” phase where we still have to practice sanitation while opening businesses like plant nurseries, farms, gardens to customers. What are you doing to keep your operation, your workers and your customers safe?

I don’t have a magic wand to give you and eliminate this virus, but I want to share with you what I learned from a interview to two main greenhouses. The what and how they implemented sanitation steps in their own operations. Please, watch the video and apply, modify and try some of their suggestions to your own work environment, always based on CDC recommendations. Especially because we are still dealing with not only symptomatic but also with asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic people. For example, you can read the note on the greenhouse in NYC where they identified 120 people just by testing only, even with sanitation practices in place. Read here: COVID-19 outbreak among greenhouse workers

I think this is a great interview tool, since we know they are not many specific guidelines for nurseries/greenhouses out there. Is great that they shared their safety plans to others. Do you have anything to add? send me a link and I will share it. We are ll in this together

Some examples you can take from this interview are:

  1. DYK that personal tools are as important to clean as common areas?
  2. Also, do you have a plan for a third party cleaning crew? if you ask your own employees to clean, it might not be as efficient as you think
  3. Walk with your cleaning crew to learn about touch-points in your operations. Even a soil mixing knob can be one touch-point.
  4. How are you managing the clock in and clock out standards for your employees? Do they have to touch the same keyboard when they enter? Have you considered an alternative? and many more

Source: Interviewer is Bill Calkins (Ball Publishing) and the two gentlemen are: Abe Van Wingerden of Metrolina and Jeff Back of Four Star sharing their tips.

Some general things to remember:

Every new protocol you create doesn’t have to be final. You can always modify it and improve based on feedback from your own employees.

Be patient, this is a new process, and nobody has all the answers.

Be safe,


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Posted: May 12, 2020

Category: Agribusiness, Agriculture, Community Volunteers, Crops, Disaster Preparation, Farm Management, Horticulture, UF/IFAS, UF/IFAS Extension, UF/IFAS Teaching
Tags: Ag Safety, Agriculture, COVID-19, Farmworkers, Germs, Horticulture, Industry, Sanitation, Tool, UF, Virus

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