While wildfires are a natural part of our state’s ecology, decades of fire suppression and anthropogenic climate change have fueled record-breaking fires in recent years. Not only are these fires dangerous, but the vast clouds of smoke they create can pose serious health risks to people working and spending time outdoors, including farmworkers. The smoke contains fine particles, including hundreds of toxins that create lifelong health issues and even premature death.
Many Californians had the privilege to shelter indoors during both unhealthy air quality events and the COVID-19 pandemic, while agricultural workers remained outdoors in smoky fields and orchards to pick crops that fed the nation. The convergence of these two events put enormous strain on the availability of PPE and made it nearly impossible to procure sufficient quantities of recommended N-95 masks for workers - compromising the health and safety of our essential agricultural workers.
AB 73 will equip both agricultural employers and workers with tools and resources to reduce the harm caused by hazardous conditions associated with wildfire by:
- Ensures the state's stockpile of N95 masks will be utilized for farmworkers during a wildfire outbreak.
- Requires Cal/OSHA to develop and distribute information on wildfire safety to agricultural employees in Spanish and English and also via pictograms.
- Agricultural Council of CA
- CA Association of Winegrape Growers
- CA Central Valley Journey for Justice
- CA Farmworker Foundation
- CA Human Development
- CA Immigration Policy Center
- CA Rural Legal Assistance Foundation
- CA Teamsters Public Affairs Council
- Consumer Attorneys of CA
- County of Monterey
- Dolores Huerta Foundation
- La Cooperativa Campesina de CA