Why a landscaping company stretches before heading out to job sites

(Photo: FreshSplash/E+/Getty Images)
(Photo: FreshSplash/E+/Getty Images)

When Rick Longnecker, owner of Buds & Blades in East Olympia, Wash., threw out his back, he sought out Penrose & Associates Physical Therapy in Olympia to help him recover.

(Photo: FreshSplash/E+/Getty Images)
(Photo: FreshSplash/E+/Getty Images)

Buds & Blades has about 50 employees and provides 90 percent maintenance and 10 percent irrigation and enhancement services to an 85 percent commercial and 15 percent residential clientele.

As Longnecker went through his sessions, a thought began to form: Many of the injuries his employees endure could be prevented by implementing simple stretching techniques.

“A lot of the injuries were strains and sprains that could’ve been avoided,” Longnecker says. “We knew we should probably do stretching, but in order for the guys to take it seriously, it works best if we have someone else teach us first.”

So, in February 2020, the company paid employees their regular hourly wage to attend a two-hour session at Penrose about what stretches employees should do before work. A Penrose employee who speaks Spanish translated the information for employees who are native Spanish speakers.

Penrose then followed up a few weeks later to watch how Buds & Blades employees performed work at a job site. From there, the physical therapy firm made a few additional recommendations on best form and tools to use when performing work.

“The important thing is the therapist had us doing all our muscle groups, which is good so we’re not just focusing on the back, but also on the arms and legs,” he says. “We’ve had a couple stretches that we do for each one.”

At $500 for the session and with fewer preventable injuries over the past couple years, Longnecker says he plans to repeat the training every couple of years.

“I think guys are more conscientious about when they’re lifting,” Longnecker says. “It’s also good in the morning because it gets us all circled up together before we head out for the day.”

Sarah Webb

Sarah Webb

Sarah Webb is Landscape Management's former managing editor. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University, where she studied journalism and Spanish. Prior to her role at LM, Sarah was an intern for Cleveland Magazine and a writing tutor.

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