What do you use for both contamination prevention and UV & pesticide exposure prevention? Tyvek suits and shoe covers? Eyewear and head coverings? Breathing protection? Anything else that goes into your anti-contamination and protection protocol? One grow operation I visited has a shoe changing protocol on entry, where they have their outdoor shoes swapped for their indoor shoes.
For general cultivation workers, we have sets of scrubs in each grow room that we put on over our clothes when working with the platnts. As well as latex gloves and hair/beard nets. The scrubs are taken home and washed once a week or after a pesticide application (to prevent any pests that may have hitched a ride on the scrubs from re-entering the canopy after it has been treated) We also have sticky mats at each entry to the grow area. Hand sanitizer dispensers are located all over the grow.
It’s not a flawless plan. It would be more ideal to have an in-house washing machine to wash any scrubs used daily. Or to incorporate the shoe changing policy that you mentioned.
Yeah the in-house washing machine sounds like a good option, that way you don’t have to worry about contamination of the scrubs while they are being transported back and forth. Looks like you have a good plan setup - have you found it effective in preventing pests being introduced?
This question came up when interviewed Jordan Mello from In Good Health in Brockton, MA. When we asked him “How do you integrate IPM into your workers’ routine”, he said:
At this time of the year in New England, our IPM requires that every employee who comes into the grow area must change out of their street clothes into scrubs. We have in-house shoes with booties on top as well. From there, they must regularly change their gloves, booties and hair nets. It is a matter of keeping themselves clean and avoiding cross-contaminating different rooms. If I have thrips in one room, I want to keep them in that room. I want to isolate the problem, and then attack them.
Right now, all of our employees are required to:
- Come in and switch out of their street clothes
- Put on their in-house shoes to wear, with booties on top
- Put on their in-house scrub type work clothing
- Wear black nitrile gloves and hair nets
Each room will have have a lab coat for that room. It instills good habits and isolates rooms from each other without taking too much time out of their schedules.
Here is the link to the entire article: http://growersnetwork.org/spotlight/integrated-pest-management/
The sticky mats at each entrance to grow are supposed to prevent things from coming in on the bottom of our shoes. But that’s it, there is definitely more that could be done, our methods are not flawless, and there is so much room for improvement.
Do the sticky mats have to be replaced or are they the kind you wash off to restore the stickiness? Do you know who makes them?
Those are great steps in regards to sanitation. We are seeing a ton of great steps like this implemented throughout the industry. Our concern is the actual UPF protection these clothes are providing. Most of the clothing we are seeing offers little to no UPF coverage and focus primarily on sanitation. We need to protect the workers and the product.
I m curious, is uv risk high with indoor grows? I thought hps lights emit little to no uv waves? I work in a poly greenhouse which blocks most of the uv, but in the summer we also have an organic farm that I manage. Uv is definitely a problem outside! Thanks! (I manage a greenhouse for SUNY Morrisville, vegetables. No cannabis. Same prinicpals)
Also, we use a foot bath with disinfectant and hand sanitizer. Everyone should wash their hands with soap and water when starting work. I have worked in a greenhouse before where we had indoor shows that stayed in the greenhouse. I don’t do this now, but we are a college and have many visitors do isolation is not really possible. We use nitrile gloves for all plant handling activities. Just took a FSMA training course. I learned that while you don’t need to use hair nets or gloves, you at least have to acknowledge that you don’t have a policy in your food safety plan. Which I thought was interesting. Nonetheless, I think hair nets are a good idea. I’ve even heard of facilities thinking about (hasn’t been enacted yet) requiring a shower in policy. Meaning that everyone takes a shower and changes into clean scrubs when they get to work.
HPS and MHG are much better in regards to UV radiation, but depending on wattage and proximity, these are still posing a significant health risk. The concerns stem not only from your skin (primarily scalp and neck regions) but your eyes and area around your eyes. The common misconception is that these lights are “safer” and therefor protection isn’t needed as much. Like not wearing sunscreen on an overcast day.
Thanks for clearing that up. And I will definitely check out your website. This is my first time hearing of your company.
We just went live with our site, so no one has really heard of us. We have been working with local growers in Southern California to really customize products that fit the needs of commercial cultivation. We really want an organic growth (no pun intended), which is why joining this network was so important for us. We truly believe the conversations of safety start here. Our focus currently is education and awareness, along with product solutions. But thank you for checking us out…hope you like it.
Thank you @nicholas for asking the question about protective clothing protocols people are using. If shoe covers/booties are being used for workers/employees, guests and visitors should put them on as well. Who knows where they’ve been or what is on their shoes?
We were at MJBizCon last month and a lot of people were interested in our automatic shoe cover dispensing system, which makes it faster, easier, safer and cleaner to put shoe covers on. Anyone who is considering shoe covers instead of or in addition to other methods might want to check out the dispensers here.
Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions, want to see a demo, etc. I am happy to help!
If you still have room for improvement, and if you’re considering shoe covers, we may have a solution for you.
We were at MJBizCon last month and a lot of people were interested in our automatic shoe cover dispensing system, which makes it faster, easier, safer and cleaner to put shoe covers on. You might want to check the dispensers out here.
Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions. I am happy to help!
While we completely support the efforts being taken towards sanitation, unfortunately these measures do little to nothing to protect workers from light radiation. That is why we created our products to be worn in concert with all sanitation SOPs. Our products are meant to be worn as your base. Once you have your body protected, you can utilize any uniform without risk.