With temperatures on the rise, Central Valley farmers have many ways to fight the heat in regards to their employees.
According to Jay Majil, president of Creekside Farming and president of the Madera County Farm Bureau board, OSHA (Occupational, Safety and Hazard Administration) regulations kick in when it’s hotter than 85 degrees.
Basically, those regulations are in affect in the Valley from May through late October.
“After 85 degrees, we have to have shade tents up, cold water, able to allow employees to take rest breaks when it gets too hot to work,” Mahil said. “Pretty much, every day in California from June on is a day you have to watch for heat. We’ve invested in more shade trailers, more ice machines when guys come into work, there’s ice available for them to fill their water coolers with. We’ve put in filtered water stations in at our facilities so they have clean drinking water.”
A way to help combat heat illness is to let everyone be aware of it. The Madera County Farm Bureau offered heat illness training. By law, Mahil says, supervisors must be trained to notice symptoms and employees are trained to know what heat illness symptoms are.
“The heat has gotten worse in the Valley, especially with the drought,” Mahil said. “It’s something that, as an employer, I have no problem implementing. If my employees are not feeling good or are feeling sick, those are employees that won’t be showing up the next day. I want to make sure when they are at my facilities, they are being taken care of well. Most growers have done that.
“The agriculture community has done a great job of implementing those rules and training those employees….
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