Improving health and safety conditions in agriculture through professional training of Florida farm labor supervisors

Because farm labor supervisors (FLSs) are responsible for ensuring safe work environments for thousands of workers, providing them with adequate knowledge is critical to preserving worker health. Yet a challenge to offering professional training to FLSs, many of whom are foreign-born and have received different levels of education in the US and abroad, is implementing a program that not only results in knowledge gains but meets the expectations of a diverse audience. By offering bilingual instruction on safety and compliance, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) FLS Training program is helping to improve workplace conditions and professionalize the industry. A recent evaluation of the program combined participant observation and surveys to elicit knowledge and satisfaction levels from attendees of its fall 2012 trainings. Frequency distributions and dependent- and independent-means t-tests were used to measure and compare participant outcomes. The evaluation found that attendees rated the quality of their training experience as either high or very high and scored significantly better in posttraining knowledge tests than in pretraining knowledge tests across both languages. Nonetheless, attendees of the trainings delivered in English had significantly higher posttest scores than attendees of the trainings delivered in Spanish. As a result, the program has incorporated greater standardization of content delivery and staff development. Through assessment of its program components and educational outcomes, the program has documented its effectiveness and offers a replicable approach that can serve to improve the targeted outcomes of safety and health promotion in other states.

Source: Morera MC, Monaghan PF, Tovar-Aguilar JA, Galindo-Gonzalez S, Roka FM, Asuaje C. J. Agromed. 2014; 19(2): 117-122. 

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