Being vigilant about greenhouse safety is a must for any commercial grower. Multiple potential electrical, chemical and equipment dangers exist in commercial greenhouse settings, so growers must take steps to protect their structures, plants and employees.
Managing most safety hazards is easy with proper training, maintenance, and vigilance. Adherence to this approach is important since very often greenhouse operations may not always be convenient to fire stations and water sources to extinguish a blaze, for example.
For commercial growers, educating employees on equipment safety, chemical safety, fire prevention, personal protective equipment and more is one of the most proactive ways to prevent downtime due to injury or damage.
With that in mind, here are some safety tips to consider as you take precautions to protect the most important assets that contribute to the success of your commercial growing operation.
Greenhouse Safety Checklist
- Keep aisles and walkways clear and even or level to prevent accidental slips, trips, and falls.
- Ensure adequate clearance of exits, breaker boxes, emergency lighting, fire extinguishers, etc., so safety equipment is easily found in the event of an evacuation.
- Encourage employees to: hydrate regularly when working in hot conditions, even when they aren’t thirsty; wear hats and light-colored clothing; monitor fellow workers; and be mindful of their location in case they need to call for help.
- Monitor weather conditions, and in the event of lightning, hail or high winds, move from the greenhouse to a sturdier structure.
- Work in teams in the greenhouse so no one is alone in case someone needs help or an emergency occurs.
- Wear closed-toe footwear and safety glasses or eye protection, particularly when using chemicals, pruning or using machinery.
- Compartmentalize your greenhouse into as many fire zones as possible. Use non-combustible materials for walkways and partitions, and firebreaks in glazing and shade cloth.
- Protect boilers from glazing by using non-combustible materials to provide a protective barrier.
- Locate electrical panels, switches, heating pipes, CO2 generators, etc. a safe distance away from glazing materials or shade cloth.
- Be cautious when using sharp greenhouse tools. The same goes for benches or shelves, which typically have sharp corners.
- Greenhouse floors become slippery when wet, particularly when algae forms on floors in propagation areas. Stay on rubber mats as much as possible, and plan to treat floors to treat algae growth.
- Conduct regular walk-throughs with other team members to identify and address hazards proactively.
- Use electrical equipment that is well-grounded and with extension cords that can adequately support the current. Do not use electrical equipment if the floors are wet or it is near moisture pads.
Other Greenhouse Safety Tips
- Separate storage rooms, utility rooms and heating plants from the main greenhouse floor when possible.
- Evacuate the greenhouse immediately if there is a fire. Set off the alarm and notify authorities. Acrylic greenhouse coverings are highly flammable and the fumes are hazardous. Installing polycarbonate as a firebreak when using Acrylic is necessary.
For more information on how to keep your operation running safely, or to upgrade your greenhouse equipment, call us today at 800-531-4769 or visit www.gothicarchgreenhouses.com.