Employers Being Cautious
A lawsuit filed last week by several farmworker labor groups is putting the ag industry on the defensive, while they’d prefer doing everything they can to keep everyone involved in production safe and healthy.
Richard Clyne, Director of Safety and Claims with the Farm Bureau, says every farmer he knows is doing everything that needs to be done, including social distancing.
“We’ve not had to do too much in the fields because the fields are wider open and they’re outside, but when you come down to packing lines and sorting lines as they’re ramping up, most place I know have already taking the precautions of moving work stations farther apart, of staggering shifts, making sure that folks have sanitizer, and putting in extra hand-washing stations that not only meet but exceed the requirements of DOSH and/or the CDC.”
“It doesn’t behoove any employer, much less an agricultural employer who has a very different time frame than the usual manufacturer or retail operation. They have to have those people available and healthy and capable of doing their jobs. So, if what it takes is a little bit extra time on the line, if what it takes is a little bit more money to put in those precautions that will keep people safer, then they’re going to do it.”
Clyne says even before coronavirus, agriculture has been keeping their workers safe, adding the United States is the best at growing food.