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SafetyWatch: Staying safe during COVID-19

May 8, 2020 -  By
Person washing hands (Photo: Moyo Studio/E+/Getty Images)

Photo: Moyo Studio/E+/Getty Images

Follow these guidelines to keep your landscape operation and employees safe during the coronavirus outbreak.

Follow social distancing practices. Many companies have dual-cab or crew-cab trucks, and there’s no way two people inside those transport vehicles can stay 6 feet apart or more. Many companies have asked employees to get to the job site on their own, in their own personal vehicle, rather than coming to the company’s headquarters.

Protect your respiratory system. Right now, nationally, most occupations are being asked to leave the N95 NIOSH-approved mask for medical and emergency personnel. However, when doing construction work, contractors can use wet saw technology, a cutting tool that automatically introduces water, to reduce the amount of silica dust inhaled. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is for individual use. When employees take off PPE, they should put it in a sealable plastic bag with their name on it.

Practice good personal hygiene. Sanitize surfaces
within and on vehicles and tools and equipment workers use daily. Workers should wash their hands at a minimum of 20 seconds and do it a lot more often: before lunch, after using a restroom and in between job sites. At the end of the workday before employees go home, they should take off their work clothes.

Consult OSHA rules. Many states have their own OSHA guidelines, some of which are stricter than the national OSHA guidelines. Find a list of state rules here.

Source: Sam Steel, Ph.D., safety adviser for the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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