Ag Health & Safety During COVID-19
In March as most people were adjusting to stay-at-home orders, our agricultural labor force was still showing up for work. Heather Riden is Program Director of Ag Health and Safety at UC Davis. She knew that something needed to be done to help protect these essential workers.
Riden.. “Agriculture and farms and farm workers, everybody is going to keep working and they are going to be at high risk for contracting COVID-19 and so that led us really quickly to thinking about: Ok, they need to know what to do immediately and they need to know how to respond because work doesn't stop.”
Riden got on the phone with other industry stakeholders, and eventually created a checklist for employees and farmers to think through what they need to do at the worksite in response to COVID-19.
Riden… “And so it's a single page. We have it in English and Spanish. It talks about the steps they need to take to maintain a healthy workforce, what they should be considering related to sanitation and hygiene, and then how to think about social distancing or physical distancing in their workplace and trying to come up with some creative ways of problem solving, social distancing in the context of really regimented ag work at times.”
The checklists clarify practices that Riden hopes will become ingrained in all agricultural workplaces. Also, they offer the peace of mind of knowing what to do in these uncertain times.