As we approach the busy time of Harvest, here are some helpful tips on how to keep your farm, yourself and your family, and your workers safe. Safety First!
- Avoid hiring strangers standing on street corners and highway entrances, or via craigslist.
- Vet your employees properly:
- Ask them for references from other farmers they have previously worked for, call and ask questions about your new employee.
- Run simple and inexpensive background checks, friend them on social media.
- Make a photocopy of your new hires state license.
- If you are planning on housing your temporary workers, create basic, simple safety rules and regulations such as:
- Zero tolerance on weapons of any kind at the work site
- Maintaining proper hygiene when handling product
- Be respectful of other workers
- Create protocols on talking to state or local officials who unexpectedly visit the farm
- Provide resource phone numbers, such as your attorney’s number.
- Ask your employees to be respectful of the neighbors:
- Limit traffic in and out of neighborhoods
- Drive slowly
- Keep noise level down, especially at night
- If you have issues, or detect any inappropriate behavior, respectfully ask them to leave.
- Pay them weekly and biweekly to avoid theft and diversion.
- If you feel your safety or that of your neighbors may be in danger, don’t hesitate to call your local law enforcement. Your life and that of your family is more valuable than any crop.
- Secure work through trusted and known individuals. Never solicit work on a street corner of highway entrance or via craigslist.
- Vet your employer through other employees if possible, remember you are free to leave a job if it feels unsafe.
- Follow your employer’s safety rules and workplace regulations.
- Avoid sleeping in your vehicle in public areas, empty day-use parking lots or the river.
- Immediately leave a work site if you detect any violent or inappropriate behavior.
- If you feel your safety or that of your employer may be in danger, don’t hesitate to call local law enforcement.
- Ask to get paid weekly or biweekly.