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EPA Revises Worker Protection Standard

Pesticide WorkerStarting in 2017, the health of greenhouse, plant nursery, urban farm, and other workers will be better protected.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revised the 1992 Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) with elements designed to reduce the risk of illness or injury from unsafe pesticide exposure.  Employers must comply with most of the new requirements starting January 2, 2017 and certain other requirements starting January 2, 2018.

Exposure to pesticides is associated with a number of illnesses and injuries such as nausea, vomiting, neurological disorders, and cancer, just to name a few.  This is not only bad for a worker’s health and wallet, but it’s bad for your horticulture business, too.  These health risks can increase worker absenteeism, reduce productivity, and add to your costs.  The revised WPS aims to reduce preventable illnesses relating to pesticides through stricter regulations.

Who Needs to Comply with the Worker Protection Standard?

Employers can be subject to significant civil and criminal penalties if WPS requirements are not met.  This affects establishments that grow and harvest commercial plants in greenhouses and nurseries, fruits and vegetables on farms, or timber and trees in forests and nurseries.

Employers of researchers who help grow and harvest plants and employers of commercial pesticide handling establishments are also required to meet WPS regulations.

Learn more from EPA on which employers are affected by WPS and exceptions here.

Which Employees are Protected by the Worker Protection Standard?

The WPS protects pesticide handlers and agricultural workers. EPA defines pesticide handlers as compensated workers who:

• mix, load, or apply agricultural pesticides;
• clean or repair pesticide application equipment; or
• assist with the application of pesticides

EPA defines agricultural workers as “those who perform tasks related to growing and harvesting plants on farms or in greenhouses, nurseries or forests.”  This includes compensated workers that perform activities directly related to agricultural plant production, including repotting and watering plants.

What Changes Were Made to the Worker Protection Standard?

EPA made a number of changes in 2015 to the existing Worker Protection Standard.  These revisions improve safety measures, training, and access to information.  Some of the major changes include:

• Individuals under the age of 18 can no longer handle pesticides or perform early-entry work during a restricted-entry interval  (REI) (effective January 2, 2017)

• Pesticide handlers must complete medical evaluations, annual fit testings, and annual training prior to using a respirator; a record of these completed activities must be saved for two years (effective January 2, 2017)

• Eye flush water must be accessible at mixing/loading sites for pesticide handlers required to use eye protection (effective January 2, 2017)

• Warning signs must be posted for outdoor production areas if the REI is greater than 48 hours (effective January 2, 2017)

• Mandatory training on required protections must be provided to workers and handlers annually (effective January 2, 2017)

• “Enclosed space production” replaced the term “greenhouse” to include greenhouses, mushroom houses, grow houses, hoop houses, and high tunnels in its definition

• And more

How to Protect Your Horticulture Business from Financial Loss

To protect your horticulture business from paying penalties, it’s important to follow requirements specified in the Worker Protection Standard.  Standardize procedures for your employees and provide additional training if needed.   Each worker should be trained in recognizing hazards, using equipment and chemicals properly, and following the required safety procedures.  Enforcing safety not only prevents violations and worker injuries, it could help lower your insurance premium, too.

If an injury or illness does occur from pesticide exposure or other cause, make sure you have comprehensive workers’ compensation insurance coverage.  This covers medical costs, foregone wages, and other related costs that can be financially devastating for your business.  With this, your employees can focus on restoring their health and you can continue growing your business.

Find insurance coverage for your horticulture business.  NIP Group’s GrowPro insurance program includes workers’ compensation and other important coverages that can be custom-tailored to your operational and financial needs. For information on insurance coverage specific to your needs, visit nipgroup.com/programs/growpro or contact your broker.

 

NIP Programs develops and manages business insurance programs for industries with specialized insurance and risk management needs.

 

Source: epa.gov

4 Basic Insurance Policies for Greenhouses and Nursery Garden Centers

Basic Insurance Policies for Greenhouses and Nursery Garden Centers

Having the right insurance for your business plants the seed for a stronger financial future.  When a costly claim or lawsuit is made against your business, even basic coverage can help dig you out of a financial hole.  This liability and workers’ comp insurance covers the costs when certain unexpected situations happen.

Below we provide an overview of four basic insurance policies – general liability, property, commercial vehicle, and workers’ comp – that can help safeguard your horticulture or plant grower business.

General Liability Insurance

If a third party claims your employee or work environment caused them injury or physical damage to their property, you might be held liable for paying the bill(s).  Even if not at fault, these claims are common and can be costly.  For example, a customer breaks their arm from slipping and falling on wet leaves in the aisle of your nursery garden center.

To protect your business against the high costs of property damage, bodily injury, and personal or advertising injury claims, general liability insurance is necessary.  This popular policy covers the costs of related legal fees, third party medical expenses, and much more.

Property Insurance

Structures, stock, equipment, and other business property can be expensive to repair or replace.  This property loss often results from fire, extreme weather, and theft.  During winter, for example, a greenhouse roof collapsing from the weight of snow and ice damages your stock, supplies, and everything else it crashes on top of, in addition to interrupting your business operations.

In case of an unfortunate incident,  property insurance is designed to help you get back to business after a loss of your stock, structures, equipment, or commercial and  business personal property.

Commercial Vehicle Insurance

If an employee causes an accident when delivering plants, going on a sales call, or driving a company vehicle for any business related purpose, you could be responsible for paying the damages.  These costs significantly increase when a third party is injured as a result of the accident,.

For greenhouse and nursery garden centers with traveling employees, a commercial vehicle insurance policy is essential.  This policy covers the expense of physical damage repairs to a covered auto, as well as the potential defense and payment of bodily injury claims to a third party.

Workers’ Compensation

Using sharp gardening tools, lifting heavy equipment, spraying chemicals on plants, and other daily tasks could result in injury or illness for an employee.  Even with safety procedures in place, accidents can still happen.  For example, an employee is hurt after tripping on a hose being used by another employee to water plants. When  employees are  hurt on the job, this policy covers the resulting medical costs and lost income during recovery, as well as potential litigation expenses.  Workers’ compensation is a legal requirement in most states, and a necessary policy when running a business with paid employees.

These four fundamental insurance policies better protect horticulture and plant grower businesses.  To fill any gaps where you would not be financially protected, additional coverage can be added to each policy.

Find insurance coverage for your business.  NIP Group’s GrowPro insurance program includes general liability, property, commercial vehicle, workers’ comp, and other important coverages that can be custom-tailored to your operational and financial needs. For information on insurance coverage specific to your needs, visit nipgroup.com/programs/growpro or contact your broker.

Please note: All coverages are subject to conditions, coverage limits, limits of liability, limitations, and exclusions as contained in the policy.

Safety Tips that Protect Outdoor Workers from Heat Stress and Illness

Safety Tips that Protect Outdoor Workers from Heat Stress and IllnessThe physical demands of outdoor work and extreme heat is a dangerous combination.  Landscape, tree service, construction, and other  outdoor workers spend hours under the hot sun, making them more vulnerable to heat stroke, exhaustion, dehydration, and other serious health problems.  This is not only bad for their health, but bad for your business too.

Heat stress and related illnesses have been one of the many occupational hazards OSHA aims to prevent.  In May 2015, for example, the State of California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) changed employer requirements to better protect agricultural and other outdoor workers from illnesses related to heat exposure.  This includes stricter regulations.

To avoid violating OSHA regulations and control hazards, enforcing safety procedures is your best bet.  Below we list some tips for protecting your workers from these heat-related health problems.

Safety Tips for Working in Hot Temperatures

  • Dress cool.  Wear light-colored, breathable clothing and a hat.
  • Stay hydrated. Thirsty or not, drink water every 15 – 20 minutes.
  • Take breaks. Rest in the shade when possible.  Eat during lunch or other breaks to re-fuel.
  • Watch your workers’ backs. Keep an eye out for signs of exhaustion and other heat illnesses.
  • Have a response plan. Know which steps to take if a worker shows symptoms of heat illness.

Each employee should be trained in safety procedures, including recognizing and controlling hazards, and steps to take in an emergency.  By creating a safe working environment, your workers are better protected from harm and the risk of a costly claim is significantly reduced.  If a health problem does occur even after following safety procedures, an insurance plan with workers’ comp will cover medical costs, foregone wages, and other related costs to take the heat off of your business financially.

NIP Group’s insurance programs include comprehensive workers’ comp to back you up financially so your employees can focus on restoring their health and you can continue growing your business.  Click the links below for more information or contact your broker.

LandPro Insurance >

For landscape and lawn care professionals

TreePro Insurance >

For arborists and tree service professionals

GrowPro Insurance >

For greenhouse and plant grower professionals

Resources

https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/

https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/documents/Heat-Illness-Prevention-Regulation-Amendments.pdf

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/wp-solutions/2013-143/pdfs/2013-143.pdf

http://landscapeonline.com/research/article/17720

Found a Negative Online Review of Your Commercial Business? Here’s How to Respond

 

Respond to a Negative Online Review of Your BusinessA negative online review of your services could discourage other prospective clients from hiring your commercial business.  In a study by Dimensional Research, 88 percent of respondents said they “have been influenced by an online customer service review when making a buying decision.”  Not so good for your bottom line.  Don’t panic just yet, though – a quick response coupled with some TLC (tender loving care) can help turn a negative review into a positive.

A bad review can happen to even the most reliable service businesses, whether it’s from a dissatisfied client (warranted or not) or a sneaky competitor using a fake name.  Monitoring both social media and service review websites helps you gauge customer satisfaction and your reputation.  It also enables you to showcase your company values to the World Wide Web and do damage control if an online user writes a less-than-stellar review.

Below we provide some helpful response tips for maintaining a positive reputation when an unexpected bad review is written for the world to see.

Step 1: Breathe

Your passion as a business owner makes any feedback more personal.  While it’s normal human response to get defensive, staying positive will get you the best outcome.  Remember, “the customer is always right” (even if they’re wrong).

After seeing a nasty review, collect your thoughts first and then respond in a professional way.

Step 2: Show You Care

It’s important to remember that other prospective clients browsing the web will read your reply.  To make a personal connection with the reviewer, send a private message first, if possible, before posting a public reply.  A thoughtful, prompt response communicating a solution to resolve their complaint can restore your reputation.  Offering a refund or discount on their next purchase doesn’t hurt either.

For example, a reviewer complained about a delay in your cleaning or janitorial service.  Although this delay may have been due to an unavoidable situation, such as an unexpected equipment malfunction or bad traffic, this is the chance to highlight your company values, not to backlash.  Your reply could include an acknowledgement of their complaint, a statement that reinforces your company’s commitment to customer satisfaction, and how you will rectify the problem or who to contact for resolution.

Step 3: Take the Good with the Bad, and then Learn from It

Comments about your business on review sites, both positive and negative, can be used to improve your product or service.  Make it a learning experience.  For example, incorporate negative reviews into your employee training with steps to prevent future issues.  Highlight positive reviews to keep up the good work.

Rectifying a negative online review doesn’t end with these steps, however.  If given another chance, make sure the client’s next experience with your business meets or exceeds expectations.  Follow up with them after service to see how it went.  By being responsive and showing you care both online and offline, you can help influence other prospects into becoming clients.

How did you handle a negative online review?

Resources

http://cdn.zendesk.com/resources/whitepapers/Zendesk_WP_Customer_Service_and_Business_Results.pdf

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242429

 

How to Prevent a Catastrophic Fire in Your Greenhouse Facility

 

Prevent a Fire in Your Greenhouse FacilityAccording to NFPA, there was $11.5 billion in property damage from fires in the United States in 2013. In a greenhouse environment, quickly spreading fires will easily destroy crops, damage facilities, and disrupt business operations that results in lost income. These blazing flames are a result of high temperature, combustible materials, and oxygen – all elements commonly found within a greenhouse.

Flammable materials exposed to high temperature sources plant the seed for a fire disaster.  Add oxygen to the mix and your whole greenhouse operations could get destroyed.   Sources of these high temperatures include poor electrical wiring, overloaded circuits, soldering or welding work, heating systems and other equipment, and discarded cigarettes. When a flame or high heat comes into contact with plastic, greenhouse covers, shade cloths, chemicals, and other flammable items, a fire can break out. Increasing the flow of oxygen, such as through a fan, only intensifies and spreads the flames.

To prevent these elements from coming into contact with one another and starting a fire, it’s important to minimize and control fire hazards within your facility.  Below are some helpful tips to protect your greenhouse, crops, and employees.

Build Your Greenhouse to Resist Fires

The first step to preventing a fire is to safeguard your greenhouse by complying with building codes and National Electrical Code (NEC) requirements. This ensures your facility is constructed to avoid fires, including installed sprinklers, proper electrical wiring and grounding, and location distance from other buildings.

The layout and design of your greenhouse also contributes to fire prevention.  Layout and design tips include but are not limited to:

  • Building a separate ventilated area, preferably outside of your facility, to store flammable liquids
  • Placing heating systems, electrical equipment, and other combustion-type equipment a safe distance away from flammable materials
  • Using non-combustible building materials for walkways and other appropriate areas

Regularly Inspect and Control Fire Hazards

Even with a well-designed and up to code greenhouse facility, safety procedures and routine inspections are required to prevent or control a fire.  These include but are not limited to:

  • Training employees in recognizing fire hazards, handling chemicals, using fire extinguishers, steps to take in case of fire, and other safety procedures
  • Storing flammable chemicals, liquids, and oily rags in proper containers
  • Making sure exit ways, aisles, and fire extinguishers are free from obstruction at all times
  • Checking the physical and working condition of equipment, including dust and leaks
  • Making sure equipment motors and flammable material storage areas are well ventilated
  • Testing the performance of fire and smoke alarms regularly

In addition, refer to OSHA standards for workplace fire safety.

Have a Plan If a Fire Does Break Out

Response by your employees can keep a fire from spreading and causing significant damage.  Create an emergency response plan with steps to take if a fire does break out, including how and when to use a fire extinguisher, emergency contact numbers to call, and where to exit the facility.

If the fire causes property damages or injuries, the right insurance coverage will protect your greenhouse business from significant financial loss.  To get the best coverage for your operational and financial needs, it’s important to know the risks your business faces and what is covered under each type of insurance policy.

For comprehensive insurance that covers losses due to fires, NIP Group offers GrowPro insurance program specifically for greenhouse and horticulture businesses.   Contact your insurance broker or visit www.nipgroup.com/programs/growpro for more information.

Resources

https://www.ngma.com/standardpdf/FireSafety2010.pdf

http://www.nfpa.org/research/reports-and-statistics/fires-in-the-us

https://blog.safetysmart.com/2014/01/12-fire-prevention-tips-workers/

 

 

 

How to Get a Business Insurance Claim Resolved More Efficiently

 

Get a Business Insurance Claim Resolved More EfficientlyAccording to a recent study by The Hartford, four out of ten small businesses will experience a property or general liability claim within the next ten years.  Knowing which steps to take when an unexpected situation happens, including theft, property damage, and injuries, can save you a lot of headache and time.  To get fair resolution of a claim through a more efficient process, prompt response and preparation are required.

Below we’ve detailed the steps that will help you move along the claims process more smoothly.

Before an Incident

Following a risk management plan, including safety procedures, can help prevent a claim from occurring. However, even the most careful businesses can face loss or damages.  For this, preparation is important to ensure you’ll be covered financially.

  • Review your insurance policies so you know exactly what is covered and if these terms fit your business needs
  • In case of a claim, store your insurance policy, including policy number and expiration date, and the contact information of your insurance provider in a safe place

Reporting a Claim

Failure to report theft, property damage, injuries, or other incidents right away drags out the claims process and, if evidence is lost, could compromise how much you’re covered financially.

  • Contact law enforcement to file a police report and request a copy of the report
  • Contact your insurance company to have a claim filed immediately
  • Have a surveillance camera or digital camera readily available for documenting evidence to support your claim
  • Make a list of any stolen or damaged items for your insurance company
  • For any damages, get multiple estimates for repair costs and confirm with your insurance provider when repairs can be made

After a Claim is Filed

Save all copies of the evidence, police reports, and claim information.  When you can, communicate in writing for documentation.  After the claim is filed, there are more steps that may need to be taken to get fair resolution.

  • If you have a business interruption insurance policy, document the length of time your operations are shut down (e.g., from building fire damage) and income lost during that time period for later compensation
  • Ask your insurance provider for a cash advancement if money is needed to get your operations running again before the claim is settled
  • Follow up routinely with your insurance provider to keep track of progress

At NIP Group, our dedicated claims expert reviews each claim routinely to ensure they are being handled properly and promptly.  Through a customer-focused network, we’ll update you about the status of a claim, assist you with loss control, and work directly with the carrier to get you fair and fast resolution.

To get comprehensive coverage specific to your business risks and responsive claims handling support, check out NIP Group’s commercial insurance programs by visiting http://www.nipgroup.com/programs/.

Related Articles:

Will Your Insurance Carrier Be Able to Pay Your Claim?  Here’s One Way to Tell

Resources:

http://newsroom.thehartford.com/releases/the-hartford-reports:-more-than-40-percent-of-small-businesses-will-experience-a-claim-in-the-next-10-years

http://www.business.com/business-insurance/tips-for-filing-a-business-insurance-claim/

5 Ways to Save Money on Your Business Insurance Bill

Save Money on Business Insurance

A few simple and quick actions could put more money into your business.  The components that influence the cost of your insurance bill, including your business risks and coverage selection, can be controlled to lower your premium without compromising the quality of your coverage.  With a lower premium to pay each year, there’s more money for you to continue growing your business.

Here are five simple ways to save money on your insurance bill without sacrificing coverage:

1. Implement Safety and Loss Reduction Practices

Control workplace hazards and maintain the working condition of your commercial equipment and vehicles to keep your insurance premium low (and avoid injuries).  With a lower risk of a claim, the lower your premium will likely be (see item #3).

2. Bundle Your Policies with One Carrier

Bundling multiple lines of insurance coverage through one carrier usually comes at a lower cost than purchasing each policy individually through various carriers.  A Business Owners Policy (BOP), for example, can benefit small and medium-sized businesses because it packages major liability and property risks into one insurance plan for a lower premium.

3. Ask About a Claims-Free Discount  

Your carrier may reward you with a discount on your insurance plan if your business hasn’t had a claim in years.  To get this cost benefit, avoid filing small claims that can be paid out of pocket.

4. Increase Your Deductible

A higher deductible can lower the premium you pay annually.  It’s always good to have money set aside, however, in case an unexpected claim does occur.

5. Talk to Your Insurance Broker 

Choose a knowledgeable agent that can help you get the best coverage for you and your business.  Your broker can answer questions about different coverage options and available discounts.

Following these five tips can help you save money to continue growing your business.  At NIP Group, we get businesses custom-tailored insurance coverage at a competitive premium rate to better fit your operational and financial needs.  Visit nipgroup.com/programs or contact your broker to find out how you can save money without compromising the quality of your insurance coverage through NIP Group.

Resources

http://www.business.com/business-insurance/9-ways-to-save-money-on-business-insurance/

http://www.iii.org/article/how-can-i-save-money-on-my-business-insurance

Keeping Your Greenhouse Operational While the Snow Melts

Winter greenhouseThe weight of snow can change based on whether the snow is wet or dry, as wet snow can be up to four times heavier than dry snow.  Dry snow can mostly be found in the middle of the country, while wet snows are more typically found on coastlines or by large bodies of water. When melted, three inches of wet snow or twelve inches of dry snow is equivalent to one inch of water. How can this water weight affect your greenhouse? In order to lighten the load of the snow, the best method is to melt it before it starts to pile up. Here’s a list of some snow melting tips to help you as this winter comes to a close.

  • Energy Blanket: Before the storm starts, lay out the energy blanket and turn the heat on BEFORE the snow starts to fall. This will warm up the glazing so the snow will melt on contact. Even if the snow does start to pile up, it will act as a good insulator, which will reduce heat loss.
  • Reducing Air Pressure: Double layered greenhouses are less effective at melting snow, as the second layer slows the heat transfer. By reducing the air pressure, you can deflate the greenhouse to a single layer.
  • Snow Rake: If energy blankets are not available, you can manually remove snow from the greenhouse with a snow rake. Be careful not to build the snow up too high around the sides, as it may crush the walls in.
  • Heating Cables/Water Piping: The effects of these methods are limited due to the small concentrated area of the tools and their small heat output. However, these methods can help if used with other tools.

As always, you should be sure to develop a complete plan before a storm starts. Be sure to check up on snow accumulation throughout the storm’s duration. Also, check all heating equipment before the storm, to make sure it is operational.

Severe Weather Tips for Greenhouse Growing Businesses

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Now that the weather is finally starting to warm up, we can begin to enjoy all of the wonderful things summer has to bring. However, summer comes with some pretty unpredictable storms and weather patterns. While we can’t always predict when, where, or how hard these natural disasters will hit, there are a number of precautions that can be taken to ensure your business stays safe. By following these tips, one can help mitigate the risk associated with greenhouse structure and business.

Prepare: Always have an emergency procedure in place for the protection and safety of all employees and property. Instructions, safety guidelines, and the chain of command must be clear. All drills should be reviewed and practiced every quarter.

Tornadoes and Heavy Rain: If you are located in a heavy tornado area, be sure to consult with a structural engineer before buying new structures. While your building codes may fit your state’s standards, it may not be offering you the most protection. Rain storms also pose as a serious threat to greenhouses. High winds and flash floods can cause a great deal of damage.

Hail: Polyethylene film roofs that are hit by hail may break due to impact, which can cause a number of problems. Broken glass may fall and cause injury, so it is vital to remove the glass as soon as possible, as well as repairing any holes in the roof’s structure.

Greenhouses are especially susceptible to damage, as they are large structures covered in glass. While these is nothing we can do to control the weather, knowing how to react is one of the most effective tools to helping prevent or minimalize damages. Make sure you’ve done everything to protect your business by visiting GrowPro.

Top 10 Snow Related Causes of Greenhouse Failure

snowblowerJohn Bartok Jr., an agricultural engineer and University of Connecticut Professor Emeritus, says snow varies considerably in consistency and weight. It can be light and fluffy with a water equivalent of 12 inches equal to 1 inch of rain. Snow can also be wet and heavy with 3 to 4 inches equal to 1 inch of rain.

Snow having a 1-inch rainwater equivalent loads a structure with 5.2 pounds per square foot. This amounts to about 6.5 tons on a 25- by 96-foot greenhouse.

Bartok says there are several reasons for structure failures during snow storms.

1. Drifting Snow: In nor’easter storms, adjacent greenhouses or bays of gutter-connected houses that have a north-south ridge orientation tend to collect more snow on the leeward side. Snow that is lifted over the ridge of the first house can be dumped on the windward side of the second house. This creates an off-center load on the roof.

2. Proximity Of Adjacent Greenhouses: Building greenhouses too close together is a common cause of failure. This is especially the case with overwintering structures that are only 4 to 6 feet apart. When snow slides off the greenhouse roof, it fills the space and crushes the house’s sidewall frame. Usually there is inadequate space to get in with a bucket loader to remove it. To save the structure, some growers cut the plastic covering to allow the snow to flow into the greenhouse and relieve the pressure. Other growers install two-by-fours to brace the side frame.

3. Greenhouse Frame Shape: The gothic-shaped greenhouse was developed to eliminate the flat spots that can collect snow on the top of hoop-shaped structures. Since 1994, when the nursery industry changed from the hoop design to a gothic design for overwintering structures, there have been fewer structure failures.

4. Poor Frame Connectors: Check and tighten all bolts and tek screws before the winter season. These fasteners tend to loosen over time. Brace bands and u-clamps can slip if they are not held in place with tek screws. The screws should be at the side of frame members, not at the bottom. Several greenhouses have failed at the point where tek screws were placed at the bottom of hoop tubing. This created weak spots.

5. Greenhouse Frame Racking: Many manufacturers do not include bracing with their greenhouse kits. All greenhouses should have diagonal braces from near the peak at the endwall to the baseboard about 16 to 20 feet from the endwall on all four corners. This provides stability and keeps the frames vertical. Frames lose considerable strength when they are not vertical. Install tubing or a 1- by 4-inch board and secure with a U-bolt at each hoop.

6. Poor Welds: Welds that are not continuous or that have burned through the metal are weak spots. Areas that should be checked include truss braces, welds between sections of gutters and tubing sections that are welded together without an insert. Although expensive, professional inspection and x-ray testing may be worth the added expense.

7. Inadequate Air Inflation: Heavy wind can create rippling of plastic coverings causing failure at the structure attachments. This can be prevented by increasing the polyethylene film’s inflation slightly by opening the blower’s intake valve. Make sure any holes or rips are taped. Check to see that the inflation fan intake cannot be blocked by snow.

8. No Heat Or Inadequate Heat: Most greenhouses that fail don’t have heat or were heated to 40ºF or less. When heavy snow is predicted, the greenhouse heating system should be turned on and the thermostat set at 70ºF or higher. Energy screens should be left open. The few extra gallons of oil or therms of natural gas burned are less expensive than replacing a collapsed greenhouse.

9. Open Vents, Doors Or Louvers: The effective force of the wind is doubled when it is allowed inside a greenhouse. Latch doors and tape vents and shutters so that they cannot open.

10. Plugged Gutters And Downspouts: Once snow has accumulated, it is important to have provisions for its removal. Removing snow from the roof lets some light in, allowing warming of the inside. This causes some melting, which helps to reduce the snow load. Once the snow is melted, it is important to keep the gutters and downspouts free of ice. Ice socks filled with calcium chloride placed in gutters and downspouts will melt the ice. If available, magnesium chloride or sodium acetate is more environmentally friendly and reduces corrosion.

Shoveling is not always the answer. It can be very expensive to remove the snow. You also need space to dispose of it. If the snow is light, there is not much danger of collapse. If the snow is heavy, some growers have found that as it settles, melts and refreezes, it forms a cocoon next to the plastic covering and doesn’t put a lot of pressure on the greenhouse. Removing it may cause more damage.