The Importance of Landscape Safety on Industrial Facilities

Retail and office properties are the tuxedo and ball gown of commercial landscape design and maintenance.  Industrial properties? They’re the sweatpants and oversized t-shirt from a concert you saw back in the ‘80’s.  Retail and office properties strive to attract a constant stream of customers to their establishments, where industrial facilities tend to ship their products out so the majority of the people who frequent the site are employees or truck drivers.  No need to “dress up” and look nice, right?

Wrong.  Landscaping in industrial areas may be a bit more relaxed or subdued than commercial properties but proper care and maintenance should be performed on any property, regardless of the number of people it attracts.  Industrial facilities may not need flowers, but it’s important to maintain a neat appearance for any visitors you may have.  A variety of trees and shrubs are a great way to frame the entrance of the building and make it look more professional. While having an attractive, well-manicured landscape is important for morale and the overall health of staff and visitors and is a representation of the businesses that reside there, it serves an even greater purpose:  safety.

Design for Safety

Industrial properties typically have a lot of large vehicle traffic which should be taken into account in the overall landscape design.  It needs to be able to withstand the traffic and the work that goes on at the facility. Trees and shrubs shouldn’t obstruct the drivers’ view and pathways should be installed in a such a way that they’re crossing the truck traffic at a minimum to keep pedestrians out of harm’s way.  Shrubs and plants should not be planted so close to the edge of pathways that they create a tripping hazard. Dense shrubs are a great way to block off equipment or busy streets and they are also a useful way to keep people from going into areas where you don’t want them.

Ample lighting should be installed around the building and paths so that pedestrians can easily be seen and that there are illuminated paths to all parking lots which should be brightly lit as well.  In parking areas, there shouldn’t be too many trees and shrubs and they should never obstruct the views of the drivers.

Maintenance for Safety

Professional landscapers view landscape maintenance as safety maintenance.  If left unkempt, there are many things that can be dangerous and pose a hazard.

Shrubs.  Shrubs should be pruned regularly.  Overgrown shrubs can create a tripping hazard along walkways and can obstruct views or lighting.  If your facility has video cameras, it’s important for them to have a clear view of the areas they’re intended to watch.  When not regularly trimmed, shrubs and other plants are a breeding ground for animal and insect infestations. Unpruned shrubs could also rub against signs or other equipment which, over time, would have to be replaced.

Trees.  Dead or dying branches are an obvious hazard that needs to be removed to prevent injuries to passers-by.  Overhanging branches can damage your building or signs, even simply scraping against it in the wind could require expensive repairs.  They also can provide a way for pests to enter your facilities where they can cause havoc and unpruned trees can also interfere with electrical and telecommunication wires.

Lawn.  Overgrown lawns make any property look shabby but they also make a great place for animals to hide.  Having it cut frequently during the growing season will deter animals from making it their home.

Debris.  Besides being unsightly and causing a possible tripping hazard, trash and debris can clog drains and cause flooding.

Irrigation.  Water can cause a lot of safety issues.  If your irrigation system leaks or your sprinkler heads are not facing in the right direction or were not properly installed, water could puddle, leaving pedestrians vulnerable to slips and falls.  Puddling can also kill your turf. Yearly maintenance, as well as winterization, can keep your irrigation system running smoothly and catch any issues before they become a major problem.

Crime prevention.  A property that looks neglected on the outside is probably lacking in security tools such as cameras, alarms, or security guards and criminals take notice of that.  Add the fact that overgrown greenery can create a great hiding place, and you’re a crime victim waiting to happen. Keeping your greenery trimmed back and utilizing shrubs and trees with thorns, needles, or sharp leaves, are natural deterrents to criminal activity.  Intruders avoid places where they may be seen and assume that they are being watched or filmed. If you do have cameras, keeping everything neatly trimmed will give your cameras a better scope of vision.

Industrial facilities must follow rigorous safety procedures, unique to the type of work or type of work or product being produced there, as well as follow any emergency protocols.  Your landscape maintenance provider must have their own safety procedures to which they strictly adhere. It may be beneficial for the contractor to work with you to come up with a safety plan that identifies expectations on both sides, that way all expectations can be met and everyone will be on the same page.

A facilities manager is always busy ensuring that the buildings and property meet the needs of the people that work there, keeping the facilities clean, secure, and safe.  A professional landscape company like Bluegrass Landscaping and Maintenance is an important tool in meeting those goals. Our expert crews are part of the NALP Safe Company Program so they are trained to perform their own jobs using the highest safety standards, but they also perform full-service maintenance on your property with safety and security always at the forefront of everything they do.

Whether you need to renew your entire landscape to be beautiful, functional, and safe, or you simply need a safety-minded maintenance company, Bluegrass can help.  Call us at (314) 770-2828 today!