Innovative partnership approaches to reach vulnerable agricultural workers.
Ryder-ER; Partida-S; Gonzalez-A; Cerda-F; Levin-J; Gilmore-K; Nonnenmann-M; Wickman-AW
J Agromed 2010 Jul; 15(3):315
As demographics and organization of the agricultural workforce continue to change it is challenging to reach hired workers with occupational safety and health (OSH) information. Some obstacles include cultural and language barriers, fears related to immigration status, and concerns surrounding compliance and regulation. Specialization and industrial growth have expanded the employer role in agriculture. The Southwest Center for Agricultural Health, Injury Prevention and Education (SW Ag Center) and the National Center for Farmworker Health (NCFH) have developed OSH training and intervention tools (e.g., heatrelated illness) for migrant and seasonal farmworkers (MSFWs). Additional partnerships, utilizing the network of regional Monitor Advocates and other agricultural organizations are being fostered with employers who are instrumental in reaching agricultural workers and assuring a safe work environment. States are required to ensure that MSFWs are provided with services that are "qualitatively equivalent and quantitatively proportionate" to the services offered to others seeking employment. State and regional Monitor Advocates carry out this function in accordance with federal regulations. They support the needs of MSFWs, in part by developing linkages with a broad range of stakeholders, including community- and employer-based organizations. Through a newly formed partnership, the state Monitor Advocate in Texas, the SW Ag Center, and NCFH have been able to participate in a range of shared workshop and conference venues important to agricultural employers for information related to workforce needs, labor rules, wage issues, etc. In doing so, each has been able to establish employer relationships with potential opportunities to implement effective OSH solutions. Examples include the annual conference held by the Midwest Association of Farmworker Organizations (MAFO) and the annual Midwest Stream Farmworker Health Forum produced by NCFH. These partnerships constitute the first steps for fostering relationships with agricultural employers in an effort to inform training and disseminate intervention tools related to OSH for hired workers.
Agriculture; Agricultural-workers; Demographic-characteristics; Sociological-factors; Education; Preventive-medicine; Health-protection; Farmers; Training; Workers; Work-environment
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Journal of Agromedicine
University of Texas Health Center at Tyler