The pandemic has made things very difficult for those who can’t stop work, and are limited to how many employees they can manage without. For farms, managing without as many seasonal workers, keeping existing workers safe, and following all covid safety guidelines has been a challenge. Here are a few ways to keep your workers safe without losing out on the work that gets done.
The best way to protect everybody working on your farm is to take cleanliness seriously. If anyone will be working indoors, such as in a space used as a dairy, it needs to be regularly disinfected. A deep clean with COVID disinfecting services could be a good idea.
Make sure your employees are washing their hands frequently. You will need to make sure there are plenty of stations around the farm for hand-washing or disinfecting. You could mount some hand sanitizer to walls around the farm so it’s easy to access without causing too many delays to work.
Have Regular Reviews
Make sure you stay up to date with government guidance on Covid-19 and what you should be doing. Guidelines are changing all the time, so make sure you keep checking so you know how best to protect your business and employees.
You need to give any workers very clear guidance and regular updates on rules on social distancing, hygiene, using equipment, and segregating activities.
As well as setting these safety policies, you will need to make sure that they are being adhered to. This is your responsibility to check and keep track of.
Harvest and seasonal labor will often mean that you have to bring temporary workers onto the farm, and a lot of farm owners are very concerned about the potential added risk that this could bring to other team members.
The rules around lockdown, travel, and self-isolation could easily change between now and your next harvest. Make sure you stay up to date with the latest rules. It is also very important to make sure these rules or expectations are made clear to employees or candidates right at the start of the hiring process so everyone knows what to expect. This should include whether you will require candidates to have a negative covid test before they start work.
It might also be a good idea to maintain a ring-fenced environment. This could mean restricting the living arrangements of harvest workers and house them on the farm, or by asking them to observe social distancing arrangements during the non-work hours while they are working for you.
These measures will require you to make a detailed and careful assessment and will probably need specialist advice, including on what employers can and cannot legally do.
Working the harvest means long hours and stressful working conditions, which can also raise the risk of accidents and illness. Make sure that people take proper breaks. Being overtired lowers the immune system, so you might want to suggest your team take supplements or vitamins to keep their immune systems strong.