The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) partnered with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) on a nine-part video series to provide guidance on COVID-19 safety precautions for farmworkers.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said Florida’s farmworkers “face an elevated risk of respiratory illnesses like COVID-19, and often lack access to health resources … FDACS is proud to partner with UF/IFAS to produce these safety videos to help farmworkers, essential members of our communities, stay healthy throughout this pandemic.”
The guidance includes best practices on using a mask while working, ways to sanitize hands and work surfaces effectively, and strategies to physically distance during work, transportation, and after work hours.
“Preventing and reducing the spread of COVID-19 among farmworkers is critically important for Florida’s food supply and agriculture industry,” said Saqib Mukhtar, associate dean for UF/IFAS Extension. “During times of economic downturn when tourism suffers, agriculture becomes our state’s main economic driver. To keep that engine running, we have to make sure Florida agricultural producers and farmworkers are trained on the issue, using scientifically proven methods, which we’ve highlighted in this video series.”
“The ability of farmworkers to social distance, sanitize when needed, and take other preventive actions to protect themselves from COVID-19 is essential as they work to feed America’s families during this pandemic,” added Oscar Londoño, executive director of WeCount!, a Homestead-based immigrant workers’ center. “We appreciate Commissioner Fried, the Florida Department of Agriculture and UF/IFAS prioritizing these needs and developing these videos to help protect the health and well-being of farmworkers.”
In addition to the COVID-19 safety videos, FDACS also recently launched a farmworker heat illness prevention campaign. Agriculture workers die from heat-related illnesses at a rate 20 times higher than the U.S. workforce average. The bilingual awareness campaign features shareable graphics and videos, and can be found at FDACS.gov/HeatIllness.
Source: Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
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