Safety training brings out 190 agricultural workers

EASTON-- The Hernández brothers know the value of safety in their workplace. Especially during the summer months when they are busy with the grape harvest season.

"For us, it is important to come to these meetings because we always want to learn what's new," said Luis Hernández, 35, who came from his native Guanajuato, México eight years ago and has worked in the fields ever since.

Last week, Luis and his brother, Rigoberto, 32, had the opportunity to attend the first annual raisin and wine grape mechanical harvest safety training session, organized by the Fresno County Farm Bureau.

The free safety training was conducted in order to increase awareness of potential hazards in the fields if workers are not using the equipment correctly.

The event brought together some 190 farmers, supervisors, farm employees and farm workers, many traveling from as far north as Modesto to as far south as Bakersfield.

Over the past ten years, the Hernández brothers have worked picking grapes and said they have seen improvements in the machinery they use.

"Every year when we attend these type of meetings, they show us newer and more efficient tractors. Just when we think we have learned everything we need to know about the equipment being used in agriculture, we find that new tractors are being created for us to make our jobs faster," said Luis.

In addition to learning about new equipment, participants also had the opportunity to learn about the new rules and regulations of the California Highway Patrol, Cal OSHA, State Fund and PG&E. Three of the four workshops were conducted entirely in Spanish.

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