COVID RESPONSE

The landscape industry, including lawn care, landscape maintenance, design/build, tree care, and irrigation and water management, takes employee and client safety and health very seriously, employing regular safety training and enforcing strong safety standards on the job, following Federal guidelines. Landscape Industry firms use regularly scheduled employee training and adherence to Federal, state, and local safety and health standards to mitigate hazardous exposures at landscape work sites.
Landscape professionals maintain and protect the living environments around hospitals, government facilities, housing areas, parks, schools, and more, protecting public safety by:

• performing regular maintenance to mow, prune, control weeds, and inspect for safety and security issues;
• performing essential treatments to reduce the spread of dangerous and deadly diseases transmitted by pests like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas;
• removing fallen trees and mitigating overhead hazards from wind effects;
• providing maintenance and plant removal to assist in fire abatement;
• managing invasive species; and
• keeping public and private pathways free from obstruction and potential risk.

The nature of landscape work, which is performed outdoors, individually, or in small teams with little public contact poses a lower risk of spreading COVID-19. According to OSHA classifications, the landscape industry falls in the “lower risk” category of exposure (the lowest level on their occupational classification of risk for COVID-19). 

Landscape Industry companies are instructed to follow all Federal, State, and Local public health and safety directives. The following guidance for the Landscape Industry During COVID-19 have been developed according to OSHA and CDC guidelines and should be observed during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Sanitation and Safety
COVID-19 is spread from person-to-person, through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus is also believed to spread by people touching a contaminated surface or object and then touching one’s mouth, nose, or possibly the eyes. Employers and workers should follow these general practices  recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to help prevent exposure to coronavirus: 

- Require employees to wash hands with soap and water frequently for at least 20 seconds. If soap and running water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. 
- Implement social distancing (staying at least 6’ feet apart). 
- Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick and avoid close contact with people who are sick.  Consider conducting a mandatory temperature check prior to beginning work in the morning; any employee with a temperature over 100.4 F is required to return home.
- Encourage employees to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 if they suspect possible exposure.
- Identify and isolate potentially infectious individuals is a critical step in protecting workers, customers, and others at a worksite.
- Encourage respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
Institute and enforce strict sanitation standards. Clean and disinfect all work environments and personal protective equipment daily, including machine handles, tools, safety glasses, safety vests, gloves, and soles of boots.  

When choosing cleaning chemicals, employers should consult information on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved disinfectants with claims against emerging viral pathogens. Products with EPA-approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against SARS-CoV-2 based on data for harder to kill viruses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use of all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, PPE).

Where possible, initiate engineering controls to isolate employees from work-related hazards. In workplaces where they are appropriate, these types of controls reduce exposure to hazards without relying on worker behavior and can be the most cost-effective solution to implement. Engineering controls for SARS-CoV-2 include: installing high-efficiency air filters and increasing ventilation rates in the work environment. install physical barriers, such as clear plastic and sneeze guards where appropriate.

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