By: Melanie Forti, H&S Programs Director
Every day, agricultural workers are exposed to many hazards. These might include exposure to pesticides and extreme weather conditions, machinery vehicle rollovers, musculoskeletal injuries, unsanitary conditions, and many more.
Farmworker’s health can be at risk from factors out of their control such as pesticides and extreme weather conditions. For this reason, wearing the adequate clothing can help make a difference. Agricultural pesticide handlers and early entry workers are required to wear the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) stated in the pesticide label. The higher the toxicity level of the pesticide, the more clothing and protective equipment may be required.
It is important to mention that employers must provide the handlers and early entry workers with the appropriate PPE. Employers must also ensure that PPE is worn properly and inspect the PPE used for leaks, holes, tears, or worn places, and repair or discard any damaged equipment. If PPE is damaged, the employer is responsible of replacing it. Employers must take any step to help prevent any illness.
What about agriculture workers that don’t handle pesticides? They need to be protected too. Pesticide residues can enter the body through the skin, mouth, eyes and nose. Exposure to heat is another aspect that might harm the health of farmworkers. Wearing the correct outfit can help avoid any present or future health issues related to pesticide and heat exposure.
At AFOP Health & Safety Programs we suggest farmworkers to avoid pesticide exposure by using:
- Long-sleeve shirts
- Long pants
- Closed shoes with socks
It is vital that farmworkers take the proper steps to avoid any hazard or illness for that matter. AFOP’s Health & Safety Programs network trainers take the time to explain farmworkers the reasons why farmworkers must wear an adequate outfit and the consequences of not dressing properly.
During the National Farmworker Awareness Week (NFAW), many of our trainers joined AFOP’s National Long-Sleeve Shirt Drive. The long-sleeve shirts collected will be distributed among the farmworker community after Worker Protection Standard (WPS) and Heat Stress Prevention training is provided.
If you are a pesticide handler, learn more about Personal Protective Equipment here.