FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — Fresno County health officials on Wednesday unveiled its Agriculture Industry COVID-19 Safety Guidelines developed in collaboration with industry leaders to help employers better protect their workforce during the pandemic.
The guidelines were made as Fresno County is one of the top agricultural producing counties in the country and has up to 70,000 farmworkers on the job at any given time.
This population suffers from significant health disparities, which increases their risk of developing adverse health complications from COVID-19, said Sim Dhillon, spokesman for the county Department of Public Health. As the pandemic takes its toll on these essential workers, it was made clear to officials that they needed to secure the country’s food supply chain and protect the health and safety of agricultural workers.
The guidelines aim to enhance existing food and safety regulations related to worker safety and hygine.
While these guidelines are voluntary, agriculture facilities are encouraged to implement them at their worksite in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Dhillon said. These recommendations are not limited to farmworkers, but also all employees involved in the agriculture supply chain.
The following topics are discussed:
- Employee Safety/Hygiene
- Employer-Provided Transportation Safety
- Assigning a COVID-19 Worksite Coordinator who can help the facility create and implement a COVID-19 safety plan.
Officials said the guidelines also provide a worksite COVID-19 screening testing plan, which aims to prevent workplace outbreaks and safely keep agriculture facilities open.
Fresno County is one of the first counties in California to develop a preventative COVID-19 screening testing plan that agriculture workplace can use to protect their employees.
Businesses can contact the Fresno County Department of Public Health if they have questions regarding how to implement proper safety measures at the worksite. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 559-600-4063.
Health department staff are also available to help agricultural faculties arrange worksite COVID-19 testing services as capacity allows and can also answer questions about community testing resources. Please email email@example.com or call 559-575-3308 to learn more.