Why a landscaping company stretches before heading out to job sites

As Rick Longnecker, owner of Buds & Blades in East Olympia, Washington, his back tossed to him, he sought physical therapy from Penrose & Associates in Olympia to help him recover.

(Photo: FreshSplash / E + / Getty Images)

Buds & Blades has around 50 employees and offers 90 percent maintenance and 10 percent irrigation and improvement services for 85 percent commercial and 15 percent private customers.

As Longnecker went through his sessions, a thought formed: Many of the injuries his employees suffer could be avoided by simple stretching techniques.

“Many of the injuries were strains and sprains that could have been avoided,” says Longnecker. “We knew we should probably be doing stretching, but for the guys to take it seriously, it works best if we get someone else to teach us first.”

In February 2020, the company paid employees their regular hourly wages to attend a two-hour session at Penrose about what employees should do before work. A Spanish-speaking Penrose agent translated the information for employees who are native Spanish speakers.

Penrose followed suit a few weeks later to see Buds & Blades staff doing their job on a construction site. From there, the physical therapy company made some additional recommendations on the best form and tools for doing the job.

“The most important thing is that the therapist let us train all of our muscle groups, which is good so that we don’t just focus on our back, but also our arms and legs,” he says. “We had a couple of routes that we do for everyone.”

At $ 500 for the session and with fewer preventable injuries in recent years, Longnecker plans to repeat the workout every few years.

“I think guys are more conscientious about lifting,” says Longnecker. “It’s also good in the morning because it holds us all together before we leave for the day.”

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