The California State Legislature unanimously approved Act of Parliament 73. It is also known as the Wildfire Smoke Protection Act for Agricultural Workers.
The bill aims to protect agricultural workers from smoke by providing resources for a dedicated Cal / OSHA strike team, bilingual educational materials, and a stock of protective masks.
House member Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) has drafted a bill that is a priority legislation for Latino caucuses. From now on, I will head to the state legislature.
“I am grateful to my colleagues for promoting this important law for the state’s essential agricultural workforce,” said Rivas, chair of the Parliamentary Commission on Agriculture. “Inhaling toxic smoke is associated with an increased incidence of chronic heart and respiratory illnesses, and without proper protective equipment, farmers are at risk of lifelong debilitating illnesses. there is.”
Agricultural against the effects of smoke, which turned the normally comfortable sea air of Monterey and Santa Cruz counties into an orange haze, one of the worst mountain fire seasons in California last year. Workers were the most vulnerable.
Last summer there was also the issue of providing some farmers with the protection they needed. According to supporters, the bill hopes to build on the support they already have.
In an informal survey conducted by advocates of agricultural workers in 2020, 92% of respondents said they did not receive the N95 mask.
“Agricultural workers are working hard to ensure that we all have food on the table. This work is more than ever because climate change is causing the worst fire in the state’s history. It’s dangerous, “said Congressman Lorena Gonzalez. “It is important that these essential workers, the backbone of our agricultural industry, pass this common sense measure to ensure that they have the resources and equipment they need to protect their health. “
Despite dangerous situations, it can be difficult for farm workers to take time off, and proper protection is an important function of their work.
Urgent regulation by Cal / OSHA came into effect from July 2019 to January 20, 2021. Under this regulation, breathing for more than a day with an air quality index of 151 or higher was considered “unhealthy”. Workers did not have to wear the masks provided, but employers changed workplaces, moved operations, changed workers’ schedules and duties, and provided N-95 masks. I had to do it.
According to the Monterey County Agricultural Department, agriculture is a particularly important business in Monterey County, generating $ 4.4 billion in annual revenues.
Angelica Cabral is The Californian journalist and podcaster covering a wide range of topics, from movies shot in Monterey County to how much money the politicians have raised. Any interesting story tips? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow her on Twitter @ avcabral97.
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