Farm work is one of the most dangerous professions. Farming puts workers at risk of serious illnesses and injuries, many of which can be prevented through education and information. Farmworker Legal Services of New York, Inc. ( FLSNY) received a grant from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to provide outreach to farm workers and disseminate information and conduct training. FLSNY first conducted a needs assessment so that the training would target the safety issues faced by the farm workers in Monroe and Livingston Counties. What was learned during this process is that eye health and safety represent a severe risk for farm workers. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that 90% of eye injuries and symptoms can be prevented by proper use of eye protection. However, studies have shown that a very low percentage of farm workers use eye protection.
Farm Worker Legal Services of New York developed eye health and safety training to help farm workers recognize the risk and strategies to prevent eye injuries and health risks. The farm workers participating in the trainings talked about their experiences and it was clear that every farm worker had experienced some eye injury or had witnessed a serious injury or illness. When discussing prevention, they reported that even if they worked with caustic chemicals and pesticides they weren’t provided adequate protection.
It was then that FLSNY reached out to Once Again Nut Butter. Once Again provided FLSNY with a donation that was used to purchase 120 pairs of glasses that had safety glass and provided 99% UV protection. Each farm worker who participated in the training received the glasses. In follow-up training they were asked if they were using the safety glasses and they said they were. Successful training with appropriate safety equipment equals a vision-saving project!