Preventing workplace injuries amid a shifting workforce

22-09-2022    12:21   |    Greenhouse Grower

The race for talent is tight. Finding employees is challenging, and retaining them is an even higher hurdle. Nearly four million workers switched jobs between January to March of 2022, which could translate into an annual worker turnover of 30%.

Now imagine if an injured worker leaves you even more short-staffed. Unfortunately, that hypothetical scenario is becoming a reality for many growers. But why am I talking about this now? The challenge of hiring is no newer than the injury risks that have existed throughout the horticulture industry for years.


The source of injuries, however, might surprise you. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 30% of workplace injuries involve employees who’ve been on the job for less than one year. A shift in talent only worsens this issue — especially within an industry that relies on temporary and seasonal workers.

Now, more than ever, it’s critical to train workers — for their safety and your business’s success. To help you get started, I’ve gathered some key reminders from conversations I’ve had in the field with other horticulture businesses.

Common Workplace Injuries

Before you reduce accidents, you need to understand the situations and types of injuries your employees face. An effective workplace safety program should account for all potential injuries, not just one category. Below are some of the most common injuries within greenhouse and nursery settings.

  • Slips, trips, and falls: While the name might seem misleading, slips, trips, and falls can escalate into sprains, strains, tears, or even back and head injuries. Wet floors or icy walkways around your greenhouse can cause slips. Ladders are also very common within the industry and often lead to serious falls injuries. Trips and other sources of falls, on the other hand, can occur due to uneven surfaces, cluttered pathways, and trailing hoses.
  • Overexertion and muscle strains: Many greenhouse operations require moving and lifting heavy objects. But without the right tools, techniques, and training, routine movements can lead to costly injuries. Common risks include bending at the waist or twisting while carrying an object. Any activity that requires repetitive motions can also create higher injury risk.


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Image by DCStudio on Freepik


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