Kudos to Ron Hall for his article in July’s edition of Turf Magazine. Landscape professionals need to take a more proactive stance toward creating a safe work environment for our staff that spend their days working in the brutal summer heat.

During the summers of 2010 and 2011, my company had four employees who were treated for heat related injuries. While none had any serious or permanent injures, we considered ourselves lucky. To prevent future injuries, our safety committee took action and created our proactive Heat Index Policy. Our approach to managing heat related risk has been successful. Since implementing the policy in 2012, we’ve worked over half a million man-hours with only one heat related injury.

Using OSHA’s Heat Safety Tool, a downloadable app for your smartphone, we created a series of required procedures based on the current risk of heat injury. When the heat index is between 95 and 105, employees are required to take 10 minute breaks every hour after the lunch break. Breaks occur as a crew with the crew leader monitoring the hydration of the crew. Crew leaders visually observe the crew to determine the level of heat stress of each crew member. Crew leaders consult their supervisor if further action is necessary. When the heat index is higher than 105, employees are prohibited from working past 3 p.m. on the same day. Our supervisors monitor heat advisories and heat indices to determine when and at what level to implement the policy.

Consider putting our policy to place in your landscape company, and while you’re at it, take it one step further and put a policy in place for addressing how your teams respond when severe weather strikes their worksite.

—Roscoe Klausing, LIC, president and CEO, Klausing Group, NALP Board Member, Director-at-Large

Read Ron’s story: How To Avoid Heat Exhaustion’s Dire Consequences