Farmworker’s organization addresses toxic exposure

It is easy to forget about how pesticides affect farmworkers on the job. Farmworkers experience over 20,000 cases of pesticide exposure every year, but lack of protections and immigration concerns keep many workers from speaking out. A recent news story tells more about one California organization that is working to end toxic exposure on farms, and tackling other farm issues that impact women. 

In just one recent exposure incident, a toxic pesticide known as Vulcan sickened 50 farmworkers harvesting cabbage. The pesticide drifted from a nearby mandarin orchard and affected the workers. The exposure immediately began to make the workers sick. Farm operations ended when one person was transported to the hospital immediately and many others fell ill and left before medical teams had time to arrive.

This type of incident is not rare in the farmworkers’ community. That’s why a statewide women’s group of farmworkers is leading a call for better pesticide protections. The leader of the organization has observed workplace safety issues due to a lack of training, protective safety equipment and knowledge about the toxic chemicals.

Toxic exposure is one of the hazards of farmwork. In California, on the job, reasonable safety precautions must be in place to ensure worker’s safety. If a worker in California has become ill or injured due to toxic exposure on the job, workers’ compensation benefits exist to cover any on-the-job injuries. A person filing an injury claim, who wants to ensure that insurance fully covers the extent of any injuries, will likely benefit by using a skilled workers’ compensation attorney.

Source: hcn.org, “The women confronting California’s farm conditions“, Ruxandra Guidi, July 20, 2017

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