Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner Eric Lauritzen spoke with AgNet West and said their new program is a two part initiative. “It’s providing additional information, increasing the level of safety for farm workers and also really conveying that the agricultural commissioner’s office is there to regulate the use of pesticides and part of that is protecting farm workers,” Lauritzen said.
The first part focuses on clear posting at treated fields. “We are working with five growers, developing a pilot project to increase farm worker protections around posting,” Lauritzen said. “We have taken our normal posting requirements for fields that have been treated that have a re-entry interval and we’ve added one of all those that would be required. Typically a sign on each corner of the field but at the most likely point of entry, highlighted with a red flag or some other way to make it prominent and we have added the date and the time for re-entry.”
The second part focuses on worker rights and obligations. “The other key component of this is we created a farm worker information card, that is about the size of a business card and has information about our office, how to contact us and outlines a couple of the different rights and obligations affecting farm workers,” Lauritzen said. “For one, that if they have a concern and raise that concern they cannot be retaliated against. Also if they feel if they have been exposed to pesticides, or feel they have an illness that is associated with a pesticide, it’s the employers obligation to take them to seek medical attention.”