STOCKTON - State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell and Labor Secretary Victoria Bradshaw Thursday announced a partnership to educate migrant workers about heat illness prevention.
The partnership between the California Department of Education and the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency creates a line of communication through which the two agencies can educate migrant students and their families about the importance of preventing heat-related illnesses before they happen.
"Nothing is worse than reacting to an illness or a death," said Bradshaw.
O'Connell said the Department of Education would disseminate information through the state's migrant education program, parent advisory councils and summer school programs.
The superintendent referenced the death of Maria Isabel Vasquez Jimenez, 17, who died at Lodi Memorial Hospital two days after collapsing in a Farmington vineyard.
"This information can go a long way in preventing the type of tragedy witnessed recently in the Central Valley," O'Connell said.
In addition, the labor agency's Department of Industrial Relations' Division of Occupational Safety and Health, or Cal/OSHA, plans to provide pamphlets in both English and Spanish to educators of migrant workers and their families.
Tips for working in the heat
- Let somebody know if you are feeling ill.
- Be aware of what heat-related illness symptoms are, including
dizziness, fatigue, poor concentration and excessive or lack of
- Know where your water source is and avoid sugary or caffeinated
drinks, which will only dehydrate you further.
Representatives from Cal/OSHA will also travel throughout California promoting safety for migrant workers.
Already the labor agency has focused training employers in avoiding and detecting heat illness in their workers.
By California law employers have to have access to clean and cool drinking water, shade, rest periods and be trained in working safely in the heat, according to a brochure issued by Cal/OSHA.
Bradshaw said her agency plans to enforce these standards by making unannounced visits to work sites.
"We've issued a significant number of citations this year," she said.
Though the event was originally set to take place on a watermelon farm off Mariposa Road, it was moved to the San Joaquin County Office of Education to accommodate the a larger than expected crowd.