PESTICIDE + WORK SAFETY
The Pesticide and Work Safety Project works to shed light on and reduce agricultural work hazards and pesticide exposures faced by California’s agricultural workers and other rural residents.
The Project maintains an ongoing dialog with Cal-OSHA and local, state and federal pesticide regulatory officials to encourage more thorough investigations and stricter enforcement of existing laws and regulations, improvements in regulations, and increased use of safer and more sustainable pest control alternatives. We also provide technical assistance to legal services programs and community organizations on developing outreach materials, accessing and understanding pesticide and work safety laws and regulations and public records and responding to pesticide poisoning incidents. We collaborate with members of other non-profit organizations to educate policy makers, agency officials and the public about heat stress, pesticide exposure and other work and environmental health and safety hazards affecting California’s farmworkers and other rural poor.
Protect Farmworkers – Promoting full implementation of the Worker
Protection Standard (WPS) -- http://protectfarmworkers.org
DVD- En los Campos: Como Protegerse de los Pesticidas en California (To
request a copy of this DVD please email email@example.com)
Fields of Poison 2002: California Farmworkers and Pesticides -- download report here: Report in Spanish Report in English
"California farmworkers suffer more heat deaths and illnesses than any other workers in outdoor industries." - Mauricio Pena, The Desert Sun
Night Lighting for Ag Workers and Wildfire Protections
Lighting for Night-time Agricultural Work
CRLAF led advocacy for a new regulation specifying lighting requirements for night-time agricultural work. Adequate lighting in night agricultural work is crucial for preventing injuries from collisions, slips, falls, cuts and bites as well as reducing eye strain and fatigue and workplace violence risks.
This regulation, adopted in February 2020 specifies minimum lighting levels, for work and rest areas, pathways to restrooms and inside restrooms, requires the provision of high visibility safety garments to workers and safety meetings at the beginning of each shift orienting employees night-time work.
Protection from Wildfire Smoke
As California wildfires have increased in size and frequency, a growing number of farmworkers and other outdoor workers are expected to remain working under very smoky conditions without any respiratory protection or safety training. To address this, CRLAF worked with other labor and community organizations to advocate for an emergency wildfire smoke protection regulation, which went into effect in July 2018. We are now advocating for stricter requirements in a permanent regulation and helping develop a model training program.
Protection from Pesticides
CRLAF has worked with other organizations to convince regulators of the danger of exposure to the brain harming pesticide chlorpyrifos. In 2019, California regulators negotiated successfully for cancellation of most chlorpyrifos products and the state legislature budgeted $5.7 million for the development and implementation of safer pest control methods. In early 2020, the lead manufacturer of chlorpyrifos announced that they will no longer sell the pesticide in the United States.
CRLAF continues to press for improved enforcement of pesticide regulations in key agricultural counties with the coalition Californians for Pesticide Reform.
CRLAF, with Californians for Pesticide Reform, is currently advocating for tighter restrictions on use of the cancer-causing soil fumigant 1,3 dichloropropene and raising community awareness of the high air levels of this pesticide measured in Shafter in 2018 and Parlier in 2018 and 2019.
Heat Stress Protection for Outdoor Workers
CRLAF played a major role in advocating for more protective heat stress regulations, which went into effect on May 1, 2015.
Employers are now required to provide enough shade for workers to escape the severe heat during meal and rest periods. Employers must ensure that the bosses in the fields are trained in how to identify and provide emergency assistance to farmworkers when they show signs of heat illness.
Anne Katten: Pesticide and Work Safety Project Director
Anne has worked with CRLAF for almost 30 years advocating for improved enforcement and policy changes to reduce exposure of farmworkers to pesticides and other work hazards. She has been involved in Cal-OSHA advisory committees on wildfire smoke protection, lighting for night-time agricultural work, hand-weeding, heat stress, workplace violence prevention and tractor and ladder safety and is a co-author of the reports Fields of Poison and Second Hand Pesticides: Airborne Pesticide Drift in California. She holds a Masters in Public Health degree (industrial hygiene emphasis) from the University of California at Berkeley.
Contact Anne at akatten "at" crlaf.org or 916-446-7904 x 110