Essential Sun and Heat Protection Resources for Farmworkers


Recently, our sister brand of Growing Produce (under the Meister Media Worldwide umbrella) covered Extreme Heat Awareness Month for July 2024 and available resources from EFI to combat and prevent heat illness. Here’s a look at what they had to say:

 

With Extreme Heat Awareness Month underway, Equitable Food Initiative is offering resources and reminding agricultural employers and workers of the critical importance of heat safety and the prevention of sun and heat illness. With record temperatures soaring nationwide and labor-intensive planting and harvesting activities peaking, safeguarding farmworkers’ health and safety is of the utmost importance.

EFI has developed a toolkit in collaboration with farmworkers that includes a video for workers that explains heat exhaustion symptoms and preventable measures in Spanish, a tip sheet in both English and Spanish, and a round-up of other statistics and resources.

There are varying levels of heat protection regulations across the U.S. Some states, such as California, Colorado, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, have enacted comprehensive heat protection standards. However, many have not, leaving millions of farmworkers, many of whom are already disproportionately at risk, vulnerable to life-threatening heat illnesses and unhealthy working conditions.

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Heat exposure contributes to up to 2,000 worker fatalities in the U.S. each year. Additionally, up to 170,000 workers suffer heat stress-related injuries annually, with workplace injuries increasing by 1% for every 1° Celsius rise in temperature.

EFI’s resources highlight several practical tips to help protect workers from extreme heat dangers, covering key topics such as:

  • Hydration: Encourage workers to drink plenty of water before, during, and after their shifts. Ensure access to cool (below 60°F), potable water.
  • Rest Breaks: Schedule frequent rest breaks in shaded or air-conditioned areas to allow workers to cool down.
  • Protective Clothing: Advise workers to wear lightweight, light-colored, and loose-fitting clothing. Hats and sunglasses provide additional sun protection.
  • Education: Train workers to recognize the signs of heat-related illnesses, such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and to act immediately by seeking shade, water, and medical attention if necessary.

Learn more about EFI’s tools and resources and about how EFI certification can help your company improve workplace strategies to prevent heat illness at the Equitable Food Initiative website.

 

The original article can be found on the Growing Produce website, along with more news coverage for specialty crop growers.



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