High-heat procedures in full effect for Valley fieldworkers

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The heat is beating down, and perhaps no one feels it more than farmworkers in the Valley. (KFSN)

The heat is beating down, and perhaps no one feels it more than farmworkers in the Valley.

In some orchards south of Visalia, workers are picking plums and pruning cherry trees-- but they weren't outside all day. On Monday, Robert Zarco says they finished by early afternoon, due to the heat.

"(It was) very hot, too hot," he said.

Zarco works side by side with his father, and he says everyone talks to each other about staying hydrated, and not pushing their bodies past their limits.

"Don't be thinking that you're the man, take a rest when you need it, everybody's human," Zarco said.

"You don't want anyone to get overheated," said ranch manager Johnny Vosburgh. "And yeah it's always on your mind you wanna make sure they stop when they need to."

By law, farmworkers in California are required to have access to shade and fresh, pure, and cool water. Above 95 degrees, employers must implement high heat procedures, which includes taking ten minute cool downs every two hours.

Tulare County Agricultural Commissioner Marilyn Kinoshita says farmworker safety is critically important during heat waves. They're the backbone of the whole system, and Kinoshita says all employees should be up-to-date on training, such as when to take a break, or what symptoms of heat illness to look for.

"Farm labor contractors or growers who have employees (are) required to keep that same kind of paper trail on each employee that they've been trained," Kinoshita said.

Aside from the heat's impact on fieldworkers, Kinoshita says it could negatively affect some crops. Unfortunately, she says they also expect some animals, such as cows, to die.
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weatherheatagriculturetulare countyVisalia
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