Hello from AFOP Health and Safety! Have you missed us?
A lot’s been shaking this summer in Washington DC, and at AFOP we’ve seen our share of movement too. Since you read our last blog about healthy pregnancy we’ve been enjoying the summer heat, partying on July 4th, and of course celebrating National Watermelon Day (we should have taken photos). But, more importantly, we’ve been all over the country supporting the health of our nation’s farmworkers throughout the busiest season of the year.
If you caught any of our photos from Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram you may be wondering where in the world we are. The answer is … everywhere! Here in Health and Safety we work with farmworker training bodies in 23 US states and Puerto Rico. Just in the past few months we’ve visited our wonderful Maryland trainers for pesticide exposure training.
We’ve learned how to replant sweet potatoes and cut tobacco in South Carolina.
We’ve talked heat stress with the stylish ladies of North Dakota’s beet fields.
We’ve gone to health and safety school with farmworker families of Washington state.
And we look forward to more opportunities coming up to share the field with the people we work for: America’s farmworkers.
Summer temperatures are at their highest, this year more than ever with intense heat waves in both June and July, and farmworkers bear the worst of it. The agriculture industry is one of the most high-risk occupations for heat stress, which can carry deadly consequences. Our heat training campaign comes to an annual peak each summer in the Heat Stress Training Prevention Marathon, and this year temperatures weren’t the only things breaking records. In just five days our trainers stepped up their heat stress training to reach 2,621 farmworkers – more than tripling our goal of 800. That’s 2,621 more farmworkers aware of the signals and dangers of heat stress, and 2,621 less farmworkers likely to suffer heat-related illness on the job. As the cherry on top, the organization who trained the most farmworkers during the marathon receives a little boost from us, covering extra costs and enhancing its capacity to serve the local farmworker community.
Through it all we’ve been putting together plans for AFOP’s 46th annual National Conference later this September. The Health and Safety team is looking forward to it more than ever this year, and not only because the conference will be held in the heart of Las Vegas. Together with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), we’re hosting our very own special event just before the conference which will bring together pesticide safety educators from around the country. The one-day certification course is designed to bring pesticide trainers up to date on EPA’s new Worker Protection Standards, which take effect in 2018. To all trainers and aspiring trainers in pesticide safety: we hope to see you’ll join us! TODAY is the deadline to sign up with us here and save your spot.
It’s hard to believe, but the season is already winding down. For every watermelon, peach, apple, mushroom, and glass of wine we’ve savoured this summer, let’s take the time to remember who brought it to us. Farmworkers face tough work, especially over hot summer months; we’re proud of our trainers for dedicating their time to making life safer for the workers that feed us.
We’ll be busy preparing for our national conference and a successful pesticide safety certification – see you there! In the meantime, keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to see how AFOP Health and Safety is making an impact on farms around the country. Stay tuned, because starting October 16th you’ll be seeing a lot more from the Health and Safety blog every Monday and Wednesday.