8-26 AM Live Ag Report

FRESNO, Calif.

The rules mirror those in place to protect farm laborers but extend them to other industries such as construction and landscaping.

Farm workers and others who work in the hot sun need to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water to avoid heat illness. Once the temperature reaches 85-degrees, Cal/OSHA requires laborers have access to shade when they take their breaks. Workers must also have cold water and a toilet nearby.

Henry Villalobos of Hall Labor Management said the heat wave is changing work schedules. Villalobos said, "If possible we start earlier, four or five. I know it's dark and what not so we do the best we can. I'd say 80-90-percent of our guys shut down today about 12 o'clock, 12:30 everybody shut down."

Manuel Cunha of the Nisei Farmers League says heat safety outreach through pamphlets and DVDs is now conducted in five different languages - Punjabi, Hmong, English, Spanish and Mixtecan, a language spoken by Oaxacans. Cunha said, "So we've had now, which is great, those handouts for those people to take with them and understand but this is the first time we've done this."

Cal/OSHA's new heat safety plan would include those who work in construction and landscaping.

Villalobos says expanding heat stress protection and education makes sense. "And they should. You have roofers out there. They're in the hot weather. Guys on air conditioning units on apartments and what not. Guys paving roads."

The Cal/OSHA heat safety revisions must still be approved by the Office of Administrative Law but they are expected to take effect this fall.

Farmers who raise tomatoes for canneries are off to a late start, but have reached full harvest mode.

The cool spring and mild summer delayed tomatoes. Both farmers and processors say they're concerned that too much fruit may ripen at the same time, leading to backups at the canneries.

California leads the nation in production of processing tomatoes which are used for salsa, ketchup and other products.

The Dairy Council of California suggests the back-to-school season as a good time for families to gather for family meals.

Studies show that children ages 7 to 11 who participate in family meals do better in school and on achievement tests. Those participating in family meals also had higher intakes of fruit, vegetables, calcium and other important nutrients.

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