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Trainings: Rights & Safety

Trainings: Rights & Safety

AJP requires that farms provide workers with at least the following trainings:

  • Workers’ legal rights
  • Workers’ rights and privileges under Food Justice Certification
  • Health & safety training

The trainings must be on the clock (required by law), upon hire, and with regular updates. Standard 3.5.2.

Farms are also typically required by law to provide additional training, including:

  • Safety trainings mandated by OSHA (all workplace hazards) and by EPA Worker Protection Standard (pesticide, herbicide, and agro-chemical safety)
  • Food safety training to the GAPS standard

Worker rights trainings #

Under the AJP standards, farms are required to train workers in their legal rights including wages and working conditions, worker protection, pesticide safety, sanitation and food safety, ergonomic work practices, and all equipment they will use and work around. Farms may arrange with an area worker organization to provide some of this training, a service often provided at no cost.

We strongly recommend you connect with a worker-led organization near your farm or business in order to arrange worker rights trainings. These organizations can be important partners for any justice-seeking workplace: worker organizations have loyal followings who will be happy to support your business, and workers centers may even help you find employees. It’s also important for workers to connect with worker-led organizations for support, community, and assistance, since workers often need help from advocates in exercising their rights and privileges, even on Food Justice Certified farms. Workers can also help build the movement by sharing the AJP standards with fellow workers through these organizations.

For all of these reasons, farms and businesses should make every effort to have worker rights trainings conducted by worker organizations. It is inappropriate for owners to invite organizations to lead worker rights trainings or serve as worker advocates if those organizations are primarily farmer-oriented and lack direct worker leadership.

In case you have trouble finding a worker organization near you, we also share here some Know Your Rights resources from workers centers in different places. Remember that state and local laws vary. Local worker organizations should be able to provide information on local and state laws that cover workers in your area.

Consult our list of partner worker organizations or contact us if you need help finding a worker organization near you.

Sexual harassment #

Some local and state jurisdictions explicitly require universal workplace training about sexual harassment. Federal courts have established that employers who don’t provide such training may be held liable for harassment that happens in their workplace. Even beyond legal requirements, employers should train employees on recognizing and preventing sexual harassment. AJP standards require that employers create a respectful workplace free of harassment, and such training is an important part of that effort.

Health & safety training #

AJP requires that farms provide workers with thorough training in the safe use of all equipment and materials. Farms with over 10 employees must create a safety committee that includes workers in improving the safety of the farm. Smaller farms must still involve all employees in farm safety. Farms must develop a health and safety plan. Standard 3.5.2.

Regardless of AJP standards, the US Occupational Safety and Hazard Act requires employers to provide a safe workplace, which means that an employer must provide training that addresses the hazards of their workplace.

If your farm uses any EPA-listed materials (which includes many OMRI-listed items), you’re also specifically required to give every worker an annual training in the EPA Worker Protection Standard before their first potential exposure. Note that worker organizations may offer these trainings, as well.

Of course, you need to have trainings covering a wide array of safety topics. See the Health, Safety, & Wellness section for detailed resources on safety trainings.

Food safety training #

Under the Food Safety Modernization Act, federal law requires at least one supervisor per farm to be trained in food safety, who then oversees on-farm food safety training and compliance. Trainings are available through the Produce Safety Alliance or the national GAPS program.