Get Ready for the Great Outdoors: Warm Weather Prep for Your Facility

Get Ready for the Great Outdoors: Warm Weather Prep for Your Facility

The days are getting longer, the mercury is rising, and the first flashes of green can be seen among the sleepy shrubs in your facility’s landscaping. It’s time to prepare for the warm seasons by making sure the property and the employees caring for it are safe.

Worker Safety Prep

Climbing temperatures might mean a lot more time outdoors for your maintenance workers, and that means you need to help them get ready for pesky pests and the beating sun.

Pests

Bugs are typically no more than a mere nuisance, but they can serve as an uncomfortable and annoying distraction to workers. And, with many insects carrying a variety of illnesses (like Lyme disease, Zika or West Nile), or potential for dangerous allergic reactions, it’s wise to help your employees be prepared.

Sun

Working outside means working in all sorts of conditions, from extreme cold to extreme heat in the summer. A 2016 study showed that only 18% of outdoor workers apply sunscreen during the day. Coincidentally, employees who spend at least half of their working hours outside are far more prone to skin cancer.

Tips to Keep Workers Safe

  • Pest Control – Keep bug spray or wipes on-hand at all times. Products with DEET are the most effective at keeping pests away. If you’re working in an area where potentially hazardous bugs like mosquitoes and ticks could be a problem, it’s the safest bet. Another option are permethrin products. Apply these to clothing only and never on bare skin. Permethrin is effective and can last through several washings.
  • Clothing – Ask employees to wear clothing that covers their arms and legs for protection from biting insects and the harsh sun. The clothing should preferably be loose-fitting, light in color and made of a natural fiber like cotton.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – Provide appropriate protective gear like gloves, hats and safety glasses that offer protection from harmful UV-A and UV-B rays.
  • Keep Cool – Have water nearby whenever employees are working outside in the heat, and be sure they’re taking frequent breaks in shaded areas.
  • Extreme Weather – Watch the forecast for storms. Even if you can’t see lightning, if you can hear thunder, get your employees indoors. Create and educate workers on what to do in case of tornadoes, hail, flooding or damaging winds.
  • Sun Safety – Supply sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher and request that employees wear it and reapply every two hours.

Facility Prep

Getting your property ready for warmer weather can be a challenge, but with a few key tips in mind, you can ensure your outdoor spaces create the perfect setting for your facility.

Create a Plan

Good execution starts with a good plan. And since spring is just getting underway, this is the time to walk the grounds and see what shape the property is in now that it’s emerging from hibernation. For example:

  • Check areas for damage to trees and shrubs, soil erosion or debris.
  • Determine if any perennials need replacing, and decide on the annuals you’ll plant.
  • Inspect the exterior of the facility for any issues that may have been hidden or neglected during the winter.

Once you have an idea of how much there is to maintain, you can work on a schedule for your crew.

Consider Safety

Once you’ve got your plan in place, it’s time to put the finishing touches on grounds and building maintenance schedules. When it comes to the green spaces at your property, consider elements like walkways and high traffic areas, and make sure the landscaping goes with the flow, rather than impeding it. Regularly check that plants, shrubs or trees aren’t growing in the path of a sidewalk or entrance, where they could pose a tripping hazard. 

Get Your Lineup

Round up the products you’ll need to get started once the final frost has passed. Your big considerations are:

  • Lawn and Weed Control – This includes herbicides, grass seed, and pest control products that will keep your property looking pristine.
  • Facility Exterior and Grounds – Start your spring cleaning with a power washer that can handle months of winter salt, grime and buildup. And it’s always good to have sealant and patching compound on-hand for cracks in asphalt and concrete.
  • Equipment Tune-Up – What shape is your current equipment in? Do your lawn mowers need tuning? Are dull blades going to create more work for your employees? 
  • Roof Repair – Your facility’s roof may have suffered damage during the winter months, and you’ll want to get any problems under control before the spring rains set in. Have a reliable roof cement on hand for small patches, and a quick and easy rubberized spray to attack leaks before they cause more damage.

The warm, hazy days of spring and summer are fast approaching, and there’s still plenty of time to use these tips to create a plan to get your workers and exterior building ready. Let us know if you need any assistance!

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