SUCCESSFUL APPROACHES PROVIDING SAFETY TRAINING FOR FARM AND LANDSCAPE EMPLOYEES IN SOUTHERN FLORIDA

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  • 1 University of Florida/Miami-Dade County Cooperative Extension Service

Safety training for farm, nursery and landscape workers has been provided in Miami-Dade County in English and Spanish for many years. Vegetable workers are available August–September; nursery, landscape and tropical fruit workers all year. Certificates of Completion and proof of training cards are provided. Traditionally, a half-day rodeo was offered—instructors delivered presentations several times as participants move from room to room. 4 to 6 agents and 2 to 4 volunteers are needed to teach such training, plus 8 to 10 classrooms. 100+ vegetable and nursery workers participate. A local school was used for many years, with training scheduled when school was out. A tractor driving competition was held after lunch, with trophies and cash prizes. As scheduling the school became difficult, training was offered at the CES office using one room and 2 agents (Spanish in am, English in pm). This is easier to arrange and can be offered any time of year. In total, 40–50 nursery workers attend. A third type of training developed as topics were requested by the industries; for example, chainsaw and climbing safety for tree crews. One agent and one volunteer are required; 50 or more participate, and class is in English. Safety is also taught as part of other seminars, required by law (pesticide applicator training, Worker Protection Standard), trade organizations (landscape, nursery, arborist) or county policy (hurricane pruning for public employees). Participation varies widely (15 to 100+), as does language. We have concluded that successful safety training depends on being willing and able to offer the type of training required by a given situation, which will change over time.

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