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Southwest Florida Research & Education Center

Southwest Florida Research & Education Center


UF/IFAS Farm Labor Supervisor

This UF/IFAS Farm Labor Supervisor BASIC TRAINING course aims to provide an overview of the local, state, and federal regulations specific to farm labor supervisors and includes field-tested tools, case studies, and best practices recommendations and resources.

In 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor certified more than 33,000 H2A positions in Florida, ranking first among states in requests.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health stated that agriculture ranks among the most hazardous industries and reported about 100 ag workers suffer a lost-work-time injury EVERY Day.

The 2019 Census of Fatal Occupational Industries reported that Hispanic or Latino worker fatalities increased by 13%, a series high since 1992, and driver/sales workers and truck drivers incurred 1,005 fatal occupational injuries, the highest number since data collection began in 2003.

Gorucu (2020) found that 51 fatal and 199 non-fatal ag-related injuries were suffered by agricultural workers in Florida between 2015-2019. Of these, vehicles (trucks and farm tractors) were the leading cause of fatal and/or severe injury (41%), followed by contact with objects/equipment (20%) and exposure to harmful substances/environments (19%).

This online course, facilitated by UF-IFAS Extension personnel and experts’ contributions, aims to improve awareness and knowledge of the current legal compliance and human resource management expectations of regulatory agencies charged with oversight of farmworker safety and health. The purpose of this course is to provide farm labor supervisors with the administrative skills, knowledge, resources, and tools necessary to cultivate and maintain a culture of safety for farmworkers, who are essential to the profitability of Florida’s agricultural industry.

In 2020-21 in response to the global pandemic, the UF/IFAS-SWFREC Farm Labor Supervisor team developed our COVID19 farmworker safety program content based on most recently updated available information from the Center for Disease Control, the Florida Department of Health, and related agencies and organizations at the forefront of scientific understanding of COVID-19 and its implications for human health. While we do not claim to have any scientific knowledge of human health beyond the scope of the above-mentioned body of expertise, we do have an understanding of the work environment of people who supervise farm workers in Florida.  Our goal to is educate our audience with recommendations for safe, healthy work environments on and off farm, and strategies for agribusiness risk management. The information is designed for the supervisors of farm workers, and we also encourage the use of the information to inform farm workers, owners and managers.