Farm workers can learn updated safety rules from faculty with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension and others at a Dec. 18 conference in Sebring.
UF/IFAS Extension faculty from several Central Florida counties – including Highlands, Hardee and Palm Beach — will work with emergency management officials to teach agricultural safety to farm laborers, said Laurie Hurner, an agricultural agent and director of UF/IFAS Extension Highlands County.
The event will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Bert J. Harris Jr. Agricultural Center, O.S. “Sam” Polston Auditorium, 4509 George Blvd., Sebring, Florida.
Topics include proper hygiene for food safety, first aid, snakes and other critters.
Participants will attend a morning of training, broken into 30-minute blocks on every each subject except Worker Protection Standards (WPS) training. WPS training takes about an hour and is mandated annually by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, Hurner said.
An addition to this year’s agenda is “how to perform respirator fit tests.” Frank Dowdle from Palm Beach County will provide this training. It comes after the EPA updated worker protection standard regulations last year, Hurner said.
“One of the changes was to the respirator program,” she said. “If a pesticide label requires the use of a respirator to apply the chemical, farms are required to perform respirator fit tests before an applicator can apply that chemical or pesticide. Many agricultural operations do not have personnel trained to do this, and Frank is going to get them up to speed.”
Last year, about 70 people attended, and she expects about 75 to 100 to attend this year. Farmworkers come from Highlands and surrounding counties to participate, she said. Participants receive certificates for completing the program.
“It helps operations get farmworkers’ safety training done at one time,” she said.
You can click here to register. The event costs $5 or $10.