Labor Series: Pt 10 ~ New FarmsReach Labor & Worker Safety Toolkit!

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We’re excited to focus the final installment in our Labor & Worker Safety Series on the FarmsReach Labor & Worker Safety Toolkit. It provides checklists, info sheets, spreadsheets, and detailed practical references to help you better manage your employees.

All of our Toolkit resources were recommended by our Featured Farmerspartners and the community, and are categorized by topic:

We hope these resources provide practical ideas and tools to start thinking differently about managing your team!

Below is just a sampling from the new Labor & Worker Safety Toolkit.

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Labor Series: Pt 5 ~ Cal/OSHA Sample Procedures for Heat Illness Prevention

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Photo by: Cal/OSHA

The checklist below was first published by Cal/OSHA in August, 2011.

Today our Labor & Worker Safety Series continues with tips on heat illness prevention! Summer in CA is heating up, which means farmers and ranchers need to think about how to avoid heat illness among their employees.

By law, CA employers with outdoor places of employment must comply with the Heat Illness Prevention Standard T8 CCR 3395. These procedures have been created to assist employers in crafting their own heat illness prevention plan, and to reduce the risk of work-related heat illnesses among their employees.

In working environments with an even higher than normal risk for heat illness (during a heat wave, or other severe working or environmental conditions), it is the employer’s duty to exercise greater caution and additional protective measures beyond what is listed below.

Remember this is not a one-size-fits-all guide. In order to implement these procedures in your operation, you’ll need to evaluate and consider the individual conditions present at your farm, such as the size of your crew, length of the work-shift, and the ambient temperature.

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Labor Series: Pt 3 ~ Are there Legitimate Farm Apprenticeship Programs?

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Apprentices harvest Swiss chard. Photo credit: Marta Abel

Many family farms with interns, also known as apprentices, have incurred heavy fines in the last few years for non-compliance with employment and workers’ compensation laws. Whether you call it an “internship”, “apprenticeship”, or “volunteer”, they are all considered the same under the federal labor law, and therefore fit in the legal definition of an employer-employee relationship. (There are a few rare, specific exemptions, but not applicable to most situations.)

While it is not recommended, many farmers choose to “fly under the radar” by hiring part-time or full-time help with customized payment plans. Examples of these payment plans could be paying a fixed price for a period of time, paying in-kind partially or fully, or establishing interns/apprentices as 1099 contractors (no, this is not legal!). Many have gotten away with these scenarios, but be warned that there are risks associated with loose arrangements.

So what are the parameters of a legal apprenticeship program? Read on as we share some legal ways, outlined in the CA Guide to Labor Laws for Small Farmers, published by ATTRA/NCAT and CA FarmLink, to hire part-time or full-time help.

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