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California adopts standards to protect nighttime ag workers

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Sacramento, CA — California has enacted two standards designed to help protect nighttime agriculture workers from on-the-job hazards.

Approved June 3 by the state’s Office of Administrative Law, the standards require employers to ensure all tractors, self-propelled farm equipment and trucks used between sunset and sunrise are equipped with at least one headlight capable of illuminating a minimum of 50 feet in front of the equipment or truck. Additionally, trucks and equipment must have a least one rear light.

Further, employers are required to:

  • Ensure workers have adequate lighting based on operation, area or assigned task.
  • Ensure supervisors conduct pre-shift safety meetings to “inform employees of the location of the restrooms, drinking water, designated break areas, nearby bodies of water and high traffic areas.”
  • Provide employees with and maintain hands-free portable lighting and/or area lighting.
  • Provide and require workers to wear personal protective equipment that meets the ANSI/ISEA 107-2015 standard for high-visibility clothing.
 

“Agricultural workers face additional hazards at night, when visibility is limited,” Doug Parker, chief of the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, also known as Cal/OSHA, said in a June 24 press release. “These commonsense standards will enable workers to see hazards and also make them visible to operators of tractors and other equipment.”

The standards took effect July 1 and are enforced by Cal/OSHA.

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