Blog

Stay Out, Stay Alive: Irrigation Ditches and Canals

March 24, 2017

California is blessed with an abundance of water this year. As the temperature heats up, it might be tempting to swim and cool off in irrigation ditches and canals full of cold water. However, you are taking a real safety risk, especially if you don’t know how to swim.

Fast underwater currents, especially in irrigation canals, can knock people down and quickly sweep them away. Irrigation canals often have steep, slippery sides that are almost impossible to climb. Some canals have culverts and gratings that might trap a person.

Bleak Outlook for California Farmworker Health Coverage Prospects

February 27, 2017

What does health care coverage look like for the average California farmworker? Rather bleak. According to health care consultant Joel Diringer, JD, MPH, approximately half of California’s 650,000 farmworkers have no health care coverage. The other half receives seasonal coverage from their employer for a few months of the year and/or relies on Medi-Cal / Covered California eligibility.  

Fighting in the Dirt

November 30, 2016

For eons farmers have battled two things – pests and the weather. While we still can’t control the weather, we can fight pests that target our crops, whether in agricultural fields or our own back yards.

For the past decades, farmers have primarily relied on pesticides, but we now know that many of these chemicals are toxic and pests develop resistance to them. There is a high demand to find effective and safe options to traditional pesticides, especially for organic farming.

Occupational Hazards and Climate — NIOSH Science Blog

November 17, 2016

Climate-related occupational hazards have historically received little attention. In 2009, NIOSH began work to address this gap and developed a framework to identify climate-related occupational hazards. Recently, NIOSH investigators published new work in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene. Based on a review and assessment of the peer-reviewed literature from 2008–2014, the article updates…

Farm Workers Help Design 4 New Heat Illness Prevention Videos

September 12, 2016

The California Heat Illness Prevention Study (CHIPS) is proud to present 4 new Spanish-language educational videos on:

  1.            Heat and Humidity Index
  2.            Importance of Water, Shade, and Rest
  3.            Symptoms of Heat Illness
  4.            What to Do In Case of an Emergency

The videos are each 2 to 3 minutes long and based on feedback from farm worker focus groups that said they would prefer watching short, informative videos on heat illness rather than receive written pamphlets.

Adjusting to Work in the Heat: Why Acclimatization Matters

June 15, 2016

The joys of summer are here, but with them come the hazards of working in the heat. Acclimatization to heat is an important part of keeping safe as temperatures rise. This natural adaptation to the heat takes time, and from a management perspective, it may require careful planning.

Make acclimatization part of your plan

WCAHS Celebrates California Ag Day 2016

April 29, 2016

WCAHS celebrated California Ag Day 2016 at the State Capitol on March 16th. California Ag Day is an annual event that celebrates the amazing diversity and productivity of California agriculture and the people who work in it. 

Professional Dreams May Change, but the Overall Goal is Reached

December 22, 2014

Jose Gutierrez has made an incredibly positive impact at WCAHS since he first started as a student worker in 2010. Below he reflects on his various experiences at WCAHS before leaving for a new job as coordinator of Pasos Saludables – a farmworker wellness program – at Reiter Affiliated Companies, one of the world’s largest berry growers. Jose will be missed, but we are excited to see him continue his path in occupational health and safety!

Coming Soon! National Farm Safety and Health Week 2014

September 14, 2014

September 21-27 is National Farm Safety Week. This year’s theme is “Safety Counts: Protecting What Matters.” The theme underscores the importance of working together to build a safer and healthier agricultural work place. California produces nearly half of US-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables. At the heart of this industry are the farmers and agricultural workers, whose labor provides us with an abundant food supply. However, they, and often their families, are exposed to a unique, sometimes hazardous workplace that can affect health at all age levels.