The Federal Agricultural Worker Protection Standard is changing. One of the major changes is that annual training will be required for fieldworkers. Previously training was required every five years.
The changing Worker Protection Standard created a need for well-trained, up-to-date trainers of fieldworkers. These trainers are Pesticide Safety Education Program Coordinator Lisa Blecker’s clientele. Her Program is working diligently to address that need.
Blecker’s first step was to develop new train-the-trainer materials. These materials consist of PowerPoint presentations, handouts, notebooks, and instruction on laws and regulations, training requirements, and training techniques. The training materials include activities to help participants understand more about training requirements, such as label reading. Comprehension exercises include a discussion of hazard communication requirements and an exercise to reinforce knowledge of restricted entry intervals (REIs) and field posting requirements.
The fieldworker training kit is a great addition developed by Blecker and her team. The kit consists of nine sessions that cover all the required elements of fieldworker pesticide safety training (as stated in 3CCR Section 6764). Sessions introduce a major theme (e.g., “what is a pesticide”), include a checklist of all the points to cover when training, provide the trainer with scripted activities and discussion questions, and include accompanying training materials. Sessions cover: understanding pesticides and residues, how pesticides enter the body, acute and chronic exposure, signs and symptoms of pesticide over-exposure and heat-related illness, routine decontamination, first aid and emergency medical care, restricted entry intervals (REIs) and field postings, pesticides and their containers, and hazard communication and employee rights.
One of the major changes is that annual training will be required for fieldworkers. Previously training was required every five years.
“We created and packaged the training materials with step-by-step instructions for ease of use. Training materials and activities are clearly linked in the instructions,” says Blecker. “The clear instructions will facilitate training material use by a broad swath of trainers across the country.”
The fieldworker training kits are in Spanish, but the activities are scripted in English and in Spanish. The two short videos are in Spanish with English subtitles. A bilingual adaptation kit is available so the materials can be used in English or in any other language.
Following the principles of adult education, all of the training materials use visual elements that illustrate the health and safety messages, reducing the need for written text. Visual elements include: short story-telling videos, interactive posters, and representative descriptive images as the basis for discussion. These accommodations facilitate use of these training materials in languages other than English and Spanish, particularly non-written languages.