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Worker Protection Standard - Summer Reminders

Worker Protection Standard - Summer Reminders

Summer is a busy time for growers with people coming to your operation, visiting the winery, picking up plants at the nursery, or purchasing fresh fruits at the orchard.

The Penn State Worker Protection Standard (WPS) Program through the PA Office of Rural Health offers a wide variety of free services and materials to help you be compliant with the WPS. Program staff is available to visit your operation and walk you through ways to increase your compliance while protecting your workers. We also have free posters for your central location, training videos in English and Spanish, worker training workbooks in English and Spanish, and sign-off sheets for your employees. Our big announcement is that we have a new Farm Worker Protection Safety Specialist. Joni Davis started this position in April and has already been out to several operations. Her background, passion, and approach to helping people will be a great asset to helping growers become more compliant with the WPS.

Regarding training, workers and handlers need to be trained starting on day one because there is no longer a grace period. Penn State offers multiple resources to help you train your workers and handlers, from videos to manuals to flip charts. Just a reminder there must be a licensed applicator available during training to answer questions.

When it comes to sun and hot temperatures, worker safety should be a top priority. Heat-related illnesses for workers at agricultural workplaces can be very serious. Remind workers about wearing proper clothing including a wide-brimmed hat, long-sleeve, sunglasses with UV protection, sunscreen with UV protection, and to stay hydrated by drinking at a minimum of 8 ounces of water every 20 minutes while working in the heat. Not just when you are thirsty.

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Crop Progress Report

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Those producers in areas with plenty of crop options had some big choices this spring. Wheat, corn, soybeans, sunflowers and cotton all were doing their best in prices to "buy acres." Cameron Peirce is a producer in Kansas we talked to earlier this spring. We find out what won out for him and how the crop looks at the July 4th holiday weekend. Paul Thomas is in North Dakota where sunflowers and soybeans are looking good while the corn is doing its best to catch up with the long, warm days.