The law prescribes minimum standards for farmworker health and safety.

Sanitation: 

There are laws about field sanitation that provide farmworkers with the right to accessible drinking water, toilets, and sinks.  Every employer with more than 11 farmworkers working in the field for more than 3 hours at a time must provide the following with a quarter mile of the field:

  • Cool drinking water and cups for each person, or a drinking fountain
  • Toilets and handwashing facilities

Pesticides:

Pesticides are a danger to you unless they are properly handled.  You should proper receive training about pesticide safety before you begin work at a farm If you are mixing or applying pesticides, you should have more specialized training before you begin your work.

You should never be in a field while pesticides are being applied there.  Leave the field immediately if chemicals are being applied.

You should  never mix or apply chemicals if you are not given proper protective equipment.

To protect yourself from both short term and long term effects of pesticide exposure:

  • Do not enter a field after pesticides are sprayed until the recommended time — for most pesticides this is 12-24 hours after spraying but for the most toxic pesticides it is 48 hours after spraying.
  • Wash your hands often when working.
  • Always wash your hands before eating, smoking or using the toilet.
  • Wash your work clothes separately from other clothes

If you or one of your co-workers is poisoned by pesticides:

  • Get medical help as soon as possible. Call 911.
  • Find out the name of the pesticide that was being used.  You have the right to ask your boss the name and to write it down.
  • Explain to the doctor that you were exposed to this chemical.

It is also important to remember that if you suffer any injuries or illnesses as a result of your work on a farm, the medical expenses should be paid by your employer or your employer’s insurance.

Workers’ Compensation:

Under Georgia law, farmers do not have to provide workers’ compensation for workers. But if a farmer chooses to cover some of his workers with workers’ compensation, then all employees are covered. If a farmworker is employed by a farm that also employs foreign workers with H-2A visas, then the farm must also provide workers’ compensation to all other employees.

If you are injured while working, contact a doctor immediately and report the injury to your boss. If you are injured on the job and want a lawyer to help, you should contact a lawyer as soon after the accident.  You must inform your boss within 30 days of the accident and you must bring a workers’ compensation claim within one year.

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