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Safety in the field for the Suterra field team

Suterra Jun 22, 2023 8:37:00 AM
Suterra field team member smiling with sunglasses.

Safety is the number one priority for the Suterra workforce. This sentiment extends outside the confines of our state-of-the-art laboratories and manufacturing facility. Our field services and technical field teams have protocols for staying safe outdoors while conducting services and research in the field. How do you beat the heat when working in the field under the California sun throughout the growing season?

Learn from our field experts about our company culture regarding safety in the field and commitment to our team members.

Avoiding Heat Stress in the Field

With the majority of our U.S. field team based in California, the Suterra team has had decades of experience learning to work in the often-extreme California temperatures safely. It is not uncommon for temperatures in the valley to exceed 110 degrees Fahrenheit during the growing season, so heat stroke is a genuine concern that we train all field team members on techniques to avoid.

Not surprisingly, dehydration is one of the most significant consequences and concerns of heat stress. Water loss is exacerbated in the dry, hot environments of California crops, particularly given the strenuous activity in exposed environments that cause team members to lose water quickly. Planning is essential, and our team has heat safety field kits in their trucks and arrives at each field site with enough water for the entire team.

Utilizing shade and carrying water may sound straightforward, but these simple steps can easily be forgotten on a busy day in a fast-paced environment. Team members will often shift schedules around to conduct field visits in the early mornings when temperatures are safest, and on extreme enough days, our field teams will readily work with growers to coordinate new timing that’s safer for both them and us.

Smoke inhalation has also become a more prominent concern in recent years. Aside from heat stroke and dehydration, air quality is generally the most significant health hazard for our outdoor employees in California and elsewhere on the West Coast. The Suterra field team regularly monitors the air quality index for all areas where employees are active and will readily adjust schedules and personal protective equipment to safely work around these conditions.

The Number One Rule: Work as a Team

Regardless of the weather, communicating and partnering with fellow teammates when working remotely is the most crucial part of working as a team. Even when employees are alone, the Suterra field team members stay in constant contact via phone with at least one teammate to ensure that someone always knows where they are and how long they plan to be in a particular area.

Keith Mioni, Suterra’s Manager of Field Services, explains the importance of this number one rule. “With our check-ins, we know our teammates are okay. So that way, no one's out in the field and something's happened, and no one knows about it.”

Communication between team members remains vital to Suterra field safety protocol, even across state lines. Our United States field team may be plane flights away from each other, conducting surveys and field visits in various parts of California, Oregon, Washington, and other areas across the states with different climates and field concerns. The small and close-knit nature of the Suterra team ensures that even remote teammates constantly communicate throughout the day and understand where others on the team are in case of an emergency.

Safety as a Suterra Team Member

Suterra is proud to possess one of the most robust safety protocols in the American agricultural industry. Whether our employees are stationed in the field, in the lab, or in one of our in-house manufacturing and production facilities, safety is a primary concern.

Suterra prides itself on promoting a safety-first, quality-over-quantity approach in all aspects of our business. Our team members make it possible for Suterra to continue to be leaders in a pioneering industry, selling products to provide sustainable crop protection all around the globe.

If you have further questions about Suterra and our values, contact us online or speak to your local Suterra representative.