Pesticide products are used in excess of one billion pounds per year in the United States, three-quarters of which are used in agriculture, according to data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Despite potentially serious hazards to human health, these chemicals are used in nearly all fields where crops are harvested, placing farmworkers at the greatest risk for health issues related to pesticide exposure. To ensure appropriate precautions are taken by the people laboring in the fields, training is vital. Our training program, brings pesticide safety education to farmworkers in 22 states as well as Puerto Rico.
We have a network of nearly 100 certified pesticide safety educators who are bilingual in Spanish and English, have local connections to the community, and many of whom were once farmworkers themselves.Since 1995, the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP) has partnered with the EPA to provide farmworker training on the Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides (WPS), designed to reduce pesticide-related fatalities and injuries among individuals working in agricultural occupations. The successful program trained more than 16,000 farmworkers in 2010 alone.
- Pesticide exposure may result in a number of acute or chronic health problems. Through the Farmworker Occupational Health & Safety Training Program, AFOP’s WPS trainers focus on the dangers of pesticides, highlighting symptoms associated with acute pesticide poisoning, the importance of seeking medical attention, and raising awareness about chronic effects of pesticide exposure.
- The WPS is a regulation designed to protect the health of farmworkers. AFOP trainings educate workers about their rights under the WPS, including their rights to training, access to soap and water, and information about pesticides applied where they work.
- Farmworkers are generally adults, with a wide variety of learning styles. Project HOPE trainers provide interactive training sessions, including demonstrations and role-plays, designed to effectively educate workers on the dangers of pesticide exposure and the provisions of the WPS.
Our trainers provide Worker Protection Standard Pesticide Safety Education to farmworkers. This service is free to both the farmworker and the grower. Growers enjoy the benefit of fulfilling their legal obligation to train workers with EPA approved curriculum and are provided documentation for their records. Workers receive interactive training by trainers who are knowledgeable of farmworker’s needs in a language they know.
For more information, contact Melanie Forti, Director of Health & Safety Programs