Provides Safety Tips To Safeguard Agriculture Workers
As the nation experiences a summer of extreme heat, Equitable Food Initiative, the capacity-building and certification organization that partners with growers, farmworkers, retailers and consumer groups, is raising awareness about the dangers and symptoms of heat and sun exposure and providing a downloadable tip sheet for workers and farming operations, which is available in English and Spanish here.
According to the National Institutes of Health, agriculture workers are some of the most vulnerable to sun and heat exposure due to long hours worked during the hottest days of the year, and they are at least 35 times more likely to die of heat than other workers.
With production and harvest often occurring between the months of April and September, agriculture workers need to know how to protect themselves from heat and sun exposure and the symptoms of heat-related stress and illness. “The statistics are staggering,” stated LeAnne Ruzzamenti, director of marketing and communications for EFI. “Keeping our agriculture workers safe year-round is a priority, and employers need to take special steps during the busiest and hottest time of the year to ensure that.”
The risks of exposure to the elements can include sunburn, burns from hot equipment, and dizziness from heat leading to falls or other accidents. Common symptoms of heat stroke and exhaustion can include headaches, dizziness, heavy sweating and muscle cramps or pain. “The recent news of workers suffering heat-related illnesses and death should be a concern for everyone,” Ruzzamenti remarked. “Our farmworkers are the most vital link to our food supply.”
EFI has helped form and train worker-management collaborative teams for 25 grower-shipper companies on more than 60 farming operations. Through the EFI certification program, more than 4,000 farmworkers and managers have been trained in problem-solving, communication and conflict resolution strategies, helping to improve labor and safety for more than 55,000 workers. To learn more about EFI certification, visit equitablefood.org.
Equitable Food Initiative is a capacity-building and certification nonprofit that works to improve the lives of farmworkers and drive business performance by integrating worker voice and engagement throughout the supply chain. As a multistakeholder organization, EFI brings together growers, farmworkers, retailers and consumers to create assessment, training and organizational development programs that support continuous improvement and address the industry’s most pressing problems. Its unparalleled certification program sets standards for labor practices, food safety and pest management while engaging workers at all levels on the farm to produce Responsibly Grown, Farmworker Assured® fruits and vegetables. For more information about Equitable Food Initiative, visit equitablefood.org.