AFOP’s Health and Safety Programs has recently received funding from the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop and implement a Chemical Hazard Communication (CHC) training to the farmworker community through the Susan Harwood Targeted Topic Training Grant.
AFOP will develop this new curriculum following the training delivery methodology of an interactive and bilingual flipchart with colorful images that convey life-saving information and tools on how to understand the signs of chemical hazards and prevent exposure.
Chemicals may cause a wide range of health and physical hazards. OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is intended to guarantee that information about these hazards and associated protective measures are provided to workers and employers. OSHA explains that chemical exposure may cause or contribute to many serious health effects such as: heart ailments; central nervous system, kidney, and lung damage; sterility; cancer; burns; and rashes. Some chemicals may also be safety hazards and have the potential to cause fires and explosions and other serious accidents. OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires the development and dissemination of such information:
- Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to evaluate the hazards of the chemicals they produce or import, and prepare labels and safety data sheets to convey the hazard information to their downstream customers;
- All employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must have labels and safety data sheets for their exposed workers, and train them to handle the chemicals appropriately.
Employers are responsible for informing employees of the hazards and the identities of workplace chemicals to which they are exposed. However, this is not always the case. That is why AFOP’s network of health and safety trainers will reinforce the importance of following OSHA CHC standards in order to prevent chemical exposure.
AFOP is pleased that OSHA recognizes the need to train agricultural workers on this topic, and we can only hope that the agricultural community will be able to incorporate into their daily routines what they have learned in the CHC training.