Fall is nearly here, as is the harvest season for vineyards. You’ve already decided the ideal time of harvest for your wine grapes as well if you should hand pick or use mechanical harvesters. But have you determined what safety gear you need to minimize risks of injury to your employees?
There are some obvious gear that come to mind, such as work gloves and muck boots. However, you can’t forget about essential Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) that your workers should use for their safety, including safety work vests and headlamps.
The Risks of Harvesting
Why is safety so important? There are several unique risks that go into harvesting a vineyard, such as working with little lighting during predawn hours or potential lacerations if handpicking. OSHA maintains specific safety requirements at both a Federal and State level. Use their resources to better understand what risks your employees face out in the field, as well as how to minimize those risks.
If your employees do not have the correct PPE, their ability to work productively will be compromised. As well, OSHA fines are no laughing matter if you are found in violation. Rather than playing the odds, outfitting harvesters with the right safety gear from the start will help ensure a quick and painless harvest.
Picking the Right Work Safety Gear
Now that you are aware of what safety risks exist in the field, it’s time to choose what safety gear to get for your team. There are 4 essential pieces of equipment that everyone will need to wear while harvesting:
Safety Work Vest
Protective clothing are available in a variety of styles and with unique features. If your workers begin the day before the sun comes up, wearing reflective material will help with visibility. For this type of work Class 2 safety work vests are recommended, as they provide higher visibility with larger reflective stripes.
To help combat the heat of a warm California day, buying clothing made with mesh will help keep employees cool. As well, team members using a safety work vest with pockets will appreciate the extra storage for gloves and other tools.
Speaking of hand protection, leather is the best material for both safety and productivity. This tough material helps prevent lacerations from thorns, sharp tools, and other similar hazards of hand harvesting. If employees are working in pesticide-treated areas, hand protection is one element to minimizing occupational exposure to these strong chemicals. Leather gloves are also flexible, allowing workers to easily grasp and harvest grapes off the vines with minimal effort.
If harvesting begins before sunrise, your workers will need enhanced visibility, which is where having a headlamp becomes critical. Rather than waiting until there’s sunlight, this safety gear is an affordable solution that helps maximize the amount of time workers can harvest. To help minimize further safety risks, buy hard-hat compatible headlamps for additional head protection.
Wearing the right type of work shoes will help provide both stability and protection while out in the field. Dealing with mud, the rugged sole grips on Muck boots help workers keep their balance while walking and harvesting. As well, if tools or other heavy equipment are accidentally dropped, heavy-duty Muck boots will minimize the potential damage and injury.
There are additional safety gear that your employees may need, such as fall protection harnesses, respirators, or goggles. Working with an experienced safety gear distributor will help make sure that, regardless of the risks, your team members stay safe and productive.
For all your harvest season safety gear – BWS is available to answer questions and help you make the right purchases.