August 10, 2022

Prevent violence in the field: Keep farmworkers safe

GREENVILLE, Iowa — Workplace violence can strike anywhere, even on the farm.

“We’re talking about violence or the threat of violence against workers,” said Knesha Rose-Davison, health communications director at AgriSafe Network, during a webinar.

“It’s one of the leading causes of job-related deaths. It can range from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and homicide.”

Migrant farmworkers, particularly women, are at a higher risk of violence, she said.

Rose-Davison shared advice on how to empower farm employees:

What should employers do to help protect employees?

• Establish a zero-tolerance policy toward workplace violence against or by employees.

• Provide workplace safety and health training for employees.

• Create and post culturally competent materials for employees.

What should you do following an incident of workplace violence?

• Encourage employees to report and log all incidents and threats of workplace violence.

• Provide prompt medical evaluation and treatment.

• Report violent incidents to the local police promptly.

• Inform victims of their legal right to prosecute perpetrators.

• Discuss the circumstances of the incident with staff members. Encourage employees to share information about ways to avoid similar situations in the future.

• Offer stress de-briefing sessions and post-traumatic counseling services to help workers recover from a violence incident.

• Investigate all violent instances and threats, monitor trends in violent incidents by type or circumstance and institute corrective actions.

• Discuss changes in the program during regular employee meetings.

Resources are available at www.workplacesrespond.org.

Erica Quinlan

Erica Quinlan

Field Editor