HEALTH & SAFETY
The Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs recognizes that farmworkers face many obstacles to improving their lives, and the nature of their work is dangerous and harmful not only to their health, but to the health of their family members as well. The AFOP membership seeks to mitigate the health and safety risks that farmworkers are exposed to each day. Through its Farmworker Health & Safety Programs, over half the AFOP organizations are able to provide health and safety training and resources to their communities as a core service.
To address the needs of workers in one of the most dangerous jobs in the country, AFOP’s Health & Safety Programs strive to empower farmworkers to protect themselves against pesticides and heat stress through health and safety education. With generous funding support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
Since 1995, AFOP has partnered with the EPA to provide farmworker training on the Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides (WPS). Through our programs, a network of over 100 trainers focus on the potentially dangerous effects of pesticides, highlighting symptoms associated with acute pesticide poisoning, the importance of seeking medical attention, and raising awareness about chronic effects of pesticide exposure. More than 16,000 farmworkers were trained in 2010 alone.
AFOP Health & Safety operates the National Farmworker Occupational Health & Safety Training Program (FOHSTP). The program focuses on impacting agriculture workers and their families.
The topics discussed/trained in the program are the following:
- Pesticide Safety – Worker Protection Standard (WPS)
- Heat Stress Prevention
- Pesticide Safety – Take Home Exposure Prevention (LEAF)
The Hazards of Working in the Fields:
- Agriculture is among the top three most hazardous occupations in the U.S.
- The EPA estimates that 300,000 farmworkers suffer from pesticide poisoning each year
- 20,000 – 30,000 farmworkers seek medical assistance for acute toxic poisoning each year
- AFOP surveys indicate that 87% of the farmworkers interviewed have never received pesticide safety training, in spite of the regulations spelled out in the Worker Protection Standard
- Between 1992 and 2006, 68 crop workers have died from heat related illness; nearly a rate of 20 times the rate of similar deaths in the general workforce
- Migrant health clinics report more than 1,000 cases of dehydration among farmworkers each year
- Temperatures in fields are generally 8-10 degrees (F) higher than the daily high reported by the National Weather Service
For more information about Health & Safety Programs, please contact Melanie Forti, Health & Safety Programs Director.