The Landscape Construction industry internationally and in South Africa is back at work but strictly under the governmental protocols set up internationally in every country around the world.
Although our industry, fortunately, is conducted generally externally, we are still subject to strict health protocols to ensure a safer workplace not only for our workers but for the communities that we work in.
As we confront the issue of Covid 19, internationally and nationally in South Africa countries have introduced occupational health and safety measures in workplaces which need to be considered to minimise the spread of Covid 19.
It is incumbent on the employer to provide and maintain as far as possible a working environment that is safe and without risks to the health workers and take all the necessary steps to eliminate or mitigate the potential hazards in terms of contracting the virus.
As we work in the industry, we have to understand that in most of our workplaces to which the public has access, the main hazard includes transmission of the virus by members of the public. Therefore, employers review and update risk assessments on a regular basis and should be aware of the hazards of contracting the Covid 19 virus and should be continually focused on minimising the risk amongst its employees.
For the bigger companies, the employer:
- Must submit a record of its risk assessment together with a written policy concerning the protection of the health and safety of its employees and the measures that one undertakes to protect those employees.
- Must notify all its workers of the contents of this directive and all should be aware of the manner in which the company intends to implement the strategies.
- Must inform employees that, if they are sick or have symptoms associated with Covid 19, they must report their illness.
- A senior company employee to address employee/workplace representatives concerned and keep them informed of daily changes in the workplace.
- As ar as practically possible, minimize the number of workers in the workplace, make sure that the correct social distancing is maintained through continued training and instruction, particularly when maintenance is conducted in large areas. Separation of employees so that they are not working together.
- Consideration for rotation, staggering working hours, shift systems, remote working arrangements or similar measures in order to achieve complete social distancing will continually enhance the safety of your employees.
- Employees that are working amongst members of the public need to be aware of the social distancing protocol as they may be approached in the area that they are working in.
- If an employee has been diagnosed with Covid 19, the employer must inform the relevant Department of Health and review its risk assessment in connection with other employees. Contact and tracing measures can be implemented at the same time.
- Social distancing really works well in the workplace and large square meterage of areas can be given to employees singularly as they possibly work together during a given day, thus ensuring no conversation between employees, other than directives from their managers and team leaders.
Social distancing is a very important component to ensuring a healthy and safe working environment for employees. Employees need to be reminded every morning and for them to be screened on arrival at work and to observe their symptoms associated with Covid 19, namely fever, cough, sore throat, redness of eye, shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing. In addition, body aches, loss of smell or loss of taste, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fatigue, weakness or tiredness are additional symptoms.
This information needs to be clearly communicated to our employees who are representing our valued industry worldwide to ensure that their welfare and health in terms of ensuring the low risk of transmission is high on the employer’s priority.
Remember to ensure that your workers are completely sanitized prior to work and on completion of work and that their uniforms are also subject to sanitisation.
This is a difficult time for us all to operate in the industry. However, as we navigate the new methodology and our employees become more aware of their role in their company and wearing of masks as an absolute essential in the industry, job losses are a thing that many of our employees are fearing. Therefore, more than ever we do need to make sure that we are giving our clients optimum service and expertise in the delivery of our work.
Together with ensuring all these safety precautions and measures are taken to heart every employee is notified of new developments and that they are reminded of cleanliness in the workplace.
We as leaders in the industry need to be also creative in our thinking and how best we can run our sites by ensuring that we are practising sustainable landscaping techniques.
Please take note of the South African Landscaping Institute (SALI) Covid Risk Management Guidelines for the protection of staff in the workplace and on sites which are available on the SALI website once you become a member. It is highly recommended, as this industry is facing difficulties in terms of delivery and ensuring the safety of all our workers to belong to landscaping bodies governing the industry in your country. I refer you to the SALI website on www.sali.co.za. The relevant offices in your region will be happy to assist in directing you to become a member of SALI.
In other countries in the world, there will be similar opportunities to join associations in order to be ahead of the directives provided by the various governmental institutions. Covid 19 is here to stay for some time. We need to face it with positivity and be protective of our staff and ensure that all the safety measures as broadly discussed above are adhered to.
Talks and demonstrations to your staff can be arranged by our Consultants.
Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us at:
- Landscape Design Consultants International on e-mail at
- Website details are https://www.ldconsultantsinternational.com
Landscape Design Consultants International is owned and managed by Jo-Anne Hilliar, a professionally trained Landscape Designer who qualified with a Garden and Landscape Design Diploma through the University of Natal in 1990. In 2005 the company shifted its operational focus to offer landscape design consulting expertise in managing, overseeing and auditing expansive commercial, industrial and environmental sites in South Africa and internationally. Jo-Anne established the Landscape Design School in 2001. Read more…