Harvest is in full swing! For our community, this is a particularly busy and stressful time of year for many people and this fall with have the added challenges of handling COVID-19 spreading across the state. We need employees to stay safe and healthy to bring in all the crops this fall. So, what can businesses and employees do to mitigate the added risks of COVID this year?
First, businesses/farms should have an operational plan in place that addresses general farm safety along with the addition of COVID considerations. Depending on the farm or business size, this does not have to be a formal plan or binder of papers! Owners and managers should at least be discussing some of the recommendations to limit COVID risks at farms to keep people safe and have some back-up plans in place if employees are quarantined to stay home.
Next, if you need a place to start, go to the CDC website. They have a good COVID Ag Employer checklist available to review some of the guidance to help with your business/farm plan. There are basically four main points to discuss and consider with your plan:
- Ensure employees are trained on COVID-19: how its spread, precautions (masks, handwashing), symptoms, preventing spread, etc. A lot of good informational posters are available on the CDC website to print with English/Spanish versions!
- Establish some protocols to keep social distancing for employees.
- Identify options for adequate sanitation and personal hygiene for employees.
- Identify strategies for managing ill employees, including what they should do if ill and a plan for replacement of those required to quarantine.
Remind your employees also of the following:
Take care of yourself! Fatigue and long hours can cause people to make mistakes and lead to major injuries. It also breaks down the immune system making us more susceptible to colds and flu or exacerbating chronic illnesses. Remember to take care of general health with plenty of daily fluids and healthy food and snack options to get through the long days. Avoid alcohol, drugs, and try to get plenty of rest each night too.
Follow the precautions and rules! There are many rules and precautions when working with heavy machinery and driving trucks that should always be followed. Be sure that you understand all rules before working with any piece of equipment to avoid major injuries. Drive carefully, slowly, and always be alert to the changing road conditions and other vehicles.
Take care of your back! Back injuries are always the most common injury reported by employers. All employees should be instructed on proper lifting precautions that includes using the legs when lifting heavy loads and to ask for help when needed. Talk with your employer to help create ergonomic work stations that help maintain good posture, like using stands or stools on a potato pick line. Stretch your joints and muscles when you get a chance to help with muscle fatigue.
Wear your safety gear! Wear appropriate safety gear to protect yourself from the elements and dirt. Goggles or glasses will help shield your eyes from the sun and dirt. Face masks or a bandana are imperative to prevent from inhaling extra dirt in your mouth and nose. Well-fitted gloves are essential to protect your hands. Try wearing small ear buds to protect your ears and hearing, BUT be sure that you can still hear others talking to hear instructions or in case of emergencies! Lastly wear comfortable shoes and plenty of layers of clothes to adjust for warm or cold temperatures throughout the day.
We wish everyone a productive 2020 harvest season!
POWER COUNTY HOSPITAL DISTRICT– Your Partner to Keep Employees Healthy!
- 24-7 Emergency Room for fast treatment or transfer of major employee accidents.
- Convenient Outpatient Laboratory, X-rays, CT-scans, or IV Therapy for your employees.
- Billing experience with State Workman’s Compensation. Let us help with easier claims management.
- Convenient, Quick Clinic Services:
- Power County Family Clinic is Open Monday-Saturdays
- Bilingual translations services
- We always try to accommodate same-day appointments
As your local health care provider, we want to partner with local businesses to help keep your employees healthy and productive. Please contact us anytime that you may need some assistance or would like us to help participate in your workplace wellness program! Call Jacklyn at 208-226-3200 for more information.