Heat Illness Prevention Event April 12 In Easton

Water, Rest and Shade for Heat Illness Prevention

News Release Edited By Patrick Cavanaugh

On April 12, a coalition of agricultural organizations will hold two Heat Illness Prevention Sessions in Easton.

Manuel Cunha, Jr., President of Nisei Farmers League, said, “We appreciate the staff and the efforts of the Department of Industrial Relations, Cal/OSHA Consultation with their presentation of the safety message: WATER, REST, SHADE.”

Cunha continued, “the efforts by all our agricultural partners, as well as Cal/OSHA is to educate employers and supervisors about the dangers of working in the heat. We have held many educational sessions, sent out publications, had media events and continue to have ongoing outreach efforts throughout the state. Education is the key to reducing the number of heat illnesses that we see in our fields.”

Attend one of the sessions on April 12 for the latest documents outlining high heat procedures, including additional steps to be taken to ensure our employees’ safety.

Date: Friday, April 12, 2019

Time: Session One in Spanish 10:00 a.m. to noon. Session Two in English 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Place: C.P.D.E.S. Portuguese Hall, 172 W Jefferson Avenue, Easton.

There is no cost for attending these training sessions.

We want to thank our agricultural partners listed below: Nisei Farmers League, Fresno County Farm Bureau, Allied Grape Growers, California Fresh Fruit Association,  African America Farmers of Calif., American Pistachio Growers, California Apple Commission, California Blueberry Commission California Olive Growers Council and Sun-Maid Growers of California.

Heat Illness Prevention for Field Workers

Farmers Guard Their Most Valuable Asset

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

When temperatures are heating up, it’s important that growers are keeping farm employees safe to prevent exhaustion and heat-related illnesses and to ensure that their employees go home to their families at the end of the day.

On an average day, temperatures in fields can range from eight to 10 degrees hotter than the average temperature in the area.

“We try always to have a regular tailgate meeting to remind all of our farm employees about the hazards of working when temperatures are more than 80 degrees,” said Ron Samuelson, a Fresno County grower who produces almonds and cherries. “We educate our employees about the importance of drinking water, the emergency procedures if needed. And for increased prevention, we are in constant contact with the workers throughout the day.”

heat illness
Some type of shade must be available to field employees when temperatures reach 80 degrees.

Samuelson said that shade is essential once temperatures reach around 80 degrees and they make sure there is adequate shade in the morning if temperatures are going to get to that high.

“If field employees are in an almond orchard where there are mature trees, there is adequate \shade for them to sit and rest under a tree to cool down,” Samuelson explained. “And when the temperature begins to reach 100 degrees, it’s not uncommon for work to stop to give employees a break from the heat.”

“If temperatures go over 95 degrees, we employ other procedures. The first thing we would do is to talk to the guys to get their input as to what’s their thoughts on how soon they want to stop working for the day.”

“A lot of times, we’ll start a little bit earlier and knock off earlier. Then we take breaks more often as well. We try to maintain that, encourage them to drink at least a quart per hour throughout the day. We make sure they let us know if the water jugs are down to a gallon are less. That way we can get them refilled right away.”

Employee safety is paramount because it would be impossible for farmers to farm without them.

“So it’s essential to help them get through the day and avoid heat stress. At the end of the day, our employees matter most,” Samuelson said.

Heat Illness Prevention for Workers

Training is Key to Heat Illness Prevention

(Part One of a Series)

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

Temperatures heating up throughout Central California are a reminder of the critical importance of heat illness prevention for farm employees working in the luminous fields.

Scott Peters farms peaches and nectarines in the Reedley and Dinuba areas of Fresno County. He carefully watches his workers. “During the high heat periods, we have to be very careful so the guys don’t get heat illness, heat stroke types of symptoms. So we have shade and cold water readily available. We’re working on portable toilets now that have covers over them so they’re not as warm, for summer use.”

Scott Peters

Peters maintains that prevention is always the best way to keep workers safe. “It comes down to regular training,” he said.

“We also conduct heat illness training with all the field workers. We go over proper clothing light-colored clothing, cool clothing, hats, bandanas and sunscreento help prevent issues,” Peters said. “If the field worker is safe and happy, he does a better job. It’s better performance and, all the way around, everybody benefits.”

And Cal/OSHA rules require certain provisions to ensure workers’ safety as the days warm up. “We have postings,” Peters said. “Our crew bosses have binders with all the heat illness information, emergency contact numbers – both company and medical – such as 911 and the local hospital. [These postings] are with them in their vans and [affixed] to our restroom units in the field.”