The pandemic is not over yet, but many greenhouses are up and operating again. To ensure everyone’s safety, there are precautions & conversations to be had.


Many businesses are facing these challenges of how to keep their workers safe while continuing to get the job done. Bill Calkins from Ball publishing decided to conduct an interview with two of the top companies in the horticulture industry to learn more.


Greenhouse empty from safety and social distancing
Photo: Four Star Greenhouse


Calkins spoke with Metrolina’s Abe VanWingerden and Jeff Back from Four Star on a video call, to see how their companies are navigating these challenges.


Here are the best suggestions for ensuring worker safety that Bill Calkins rounded up from his interview:

  • DO NOT ask your existing staff to do the extra cleaning—hire a crew or talk to your normal cleaning/janitorial crew to add additional staff; they will most likely have people available with so many other businesses closed


  • Keep in mind that if you try to rely on your staff to clean up or delegate, it may not last long


  • Have isopropyl alcohol and hand sanitizer/cleaner available for human use


  • Use Quat disinfectant cleaner or 3% bleach solution for surfaces and equipment


  • Watch all touchpoints—handles, seats, knobs, microwaves and time clocks


  • Remove lids from trash cans and prop open doors


  • Limit the number of people in bathrooms


  • Reduce chairs in your breakroom to nine or fewer


  • Use tape on the floor to indicate safe distancing


  • Best practices should start with management, who should wear masks and eliminate face-to-face meetings with multiple people


  • Encourage staff to clean all personal tools, including phones, frequently


  • Ask your staff to give input on areas to be cleaned


  • Encourage managers to check in with employees frequently—how are they feeling?


  • Don’t punish staff for missing work if they feel ill or they won’t take precautions


  • Hand out masks, bandanas, face coverings—don’t make staff buy their own


  • Many of these precautions should stay in place past the pandemic


  • Operations should expect to answer questions from prospective employees about their health and safety measures now and into the future

— Grower Talks Interview Article


See the full video interview here

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