Labor & Worker Safety Toolkit

This Toolkit contains resources in the following categories. Note: Some resources appear in multiple categories.

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Interns, Apprentices & Volunteers

Legalities and employer responsibilities regarding farm interns, apprentices and volunteers. Note: For additional information about interns and volunteers, see the general Labor Management section below.


Source: Farm Commons | Type: Webinar
Webinar discussing the legal implications of working with volunteers, interns, trade-labor arrangements and employees.


Source: NCAT/ATTRA & CA FarmLink | Type: Reference
A well-organized, comprehensive guide for CA farmers to understand the federal and state laws pertaining to labor, apprentices and interns.


Source: NCAT/ATTRA & CA FarmLink | Type: Reference
Supplemental case studies to the CA Guide to Labor Laws for Small Farmers, of legitimate apprenticeship models in CA and OR, including cost analysis of hiring employees and partnering with a non-profit or educational institution.


Source: NCAT/ATTRA | Type: Spreadsheet
A rough template for estimating out-of-pocket costs hiring a new employee, including workers compensation, and working with a CPA to generate accurate numbers for your farm.


Source: NCAT/ATTA | Type: Directory
Robust directory of internship and apprenticeships in the US and Canada: required experience levels vary, three months to one year in duration, farm contact information provided, live/work trade and/or paid positions.


Type: Reference
Directory of farming volunteer opportunities in the US and abroad: no experience needed, two weeks to six months in duration, arrange your stay online, live/work trade.

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Wages & Overtime

Wage and overtime requirements, time card management, and farmworker retention.


Source: NCAT/ATTRA & CA FarmLink | Type: Reference
A well-organized, comprehensive guide for CA farmers to understand the federal and state laws pertaining to labor, apprentices and interns.


Source: CA Employment Development Department (EDD) | Type: Reference
Step-by-step guide to your rights and responsibilities as an employer in CA, including deadlines to register your business with the EDD, deadlines and details on how to report payroll taxes, wages and deductions, and report independent contractors.


Source: Farm Commons | Type: Checklist
Basic checklist to better understand the legalities of lodging as wages, including tax implications, housing quality and safety, and migrant worker laws.


Source: CA Dept. of Industrial Relations | Type: Reference
Quick guide to overtime pay, including regular and overtime pay calculations, special exemptions, and steps to filing a wage claim.


Source: NCAT/ATTRA & CA Institute for Rural Studies | Type: Reference
Guide to using bonuses, profit sharing, and employee ownership to motivate and retain workers on your farm.


Source: Sustainable Economies Law Center | Type: Reference
Legal requirements for wage statements, annotated and blank wage statement templates (hourly and piece-rate), and an annotated and blank time record.

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Workplace Safety

Guidelines to create and maintain a safe and healthy work environment for yourself and your employees.


Source: Cal OSHA | Type: Reference
Script for a 45-minute heat illness training to employees, including a daily monitoring checklist, heat safety fact sheets, and easy to read OSHA posters to distribute to employees.


Source: Cal OSHA | Type: Reference
A wide variety of heat illness prevention procedures to incorporate into your Injury and Illness Prevention Plan (IIPP), such as water and shade access, acclimatization time, dealing with a heat wave, and emergency response procedure.


Source: Cal OSHA | Type: Reference
Comprehensive manual of the employer’s responsibilities in establishing, implementing, and maintaining an IIPP, including safety and health training, hazard assessment and control measures, and methods of safety communication with employees.


Source: Cal OSHA | Type: Reference
Tips to prevent workplace injury, especially those related to machinery and equipment, field sanitation, prolonged stooping, electrocution, and skin conditions. Also includes a list of Cal/OSHA local offices to report accidents or complaints.


Source: New Mexico State University | Type: Checklist
Before an inspection: sample audit checklist to help identify, prioritize and correct hazards in farm machinery, pesticide storage, buildings and tractor safety.


Source: CA Dept. of Pesticide Regulation | Type: Reference
Tip sheet for farmworkers to safely handle pesticides, including how to read the label, protective clothing, rights to farm’s pesticide use records, and what to do in case of exposure or illness.

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Audits & Inspections

What to do before, during, and after both OSHA labor audits and ICE immigration inspections. Note: For more resources on how to prepare for these audits and inspections, see other toolkit sections.


Source: Farm Employers Labor Service (FELS) | Type: Checklist
Before an inspection: general labor compliance checklist for agricultural employers in CA, including federal wage standards, proper time card usage, posters and notifications, field sanitation and sexual harassment training requirements.


Source: New Mexico State University | Type: Checklist
Before an inspection: sample audit checklist to help identify, prioritize and correct hazards in farm machinery, pesticide storage, buildings and tractor safety.


Source: Full Belly Farm | Type: Info Sheet
During an inspection: guide to the various government agencies that may inspect your farm, and your rights and theirs should an inspection occur.


Source: OSHA | Type: Info Sheet
After an inspection: overview of employer rights and responsibilities following a Federal OSHA inspection, and employer options after a citation takes place for both complying and contesting the citation.


Source: Josie Gonzalez | Type: Info Sheet
Before, during & after an inspection: step-by-step guide to understanding an ICE raid, including tips for who might get targeted, protocol during the raid itself, and next steps should a raid occur.

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Labor Management

Best practices to improve worker satisfaction and retention, hire the right employees, and operate as a legal business.


Source: NCAT/ATTRA & CA Institute for Rural Studies | Type: Info Sheet
Ten no-cost or low-cost tips to improve worker satisfaction and retention, including respectful treatment, year-round employment, and opportunities for professional development. For an abbreviated version of this resource, view our Labor & Worker Safety Series feature.


Source: Farm Commons | Type: Reference
Easy-to-use template to create your own employee manual, including payroll, time off, and discipline procedures.


Source: NCAT/ATTRA & CA Institute for Rural Studies | Type: Reference
Guide to using bonuses, profit sharing, and employee ownership to motivate and retain workers on your farm.


Source: Gregorio Billikopf | Type: Reference
Step-by-step guide to hiring long-term employees, including the selection process, interviews and tests, and successfully integrating new employees into the organization. Note: this is a chapter selected from the book, Labor Management in Agriculture, 3rd Edition, 2014. For an abbreviated version of this resource, view our Labor & Worker Safety Series feature.


Source: Gregorio Billikopf | Type: Reference
Tips for supervisors and employees to communicate more effectively with staff and improve team morale, including conversational skills, asking for advice, and overcoming language barriers. Note: this is a chapter selected from the book, Labor Management in Agriculture, 3rd Edition, 2014.


Source: CA Employment Development Department | Type: Reference
Step-by-step guide to your rights and responsibilities as an employer in CA, including deadlines to register your business with the EDD, deadlines and details on how to report payroll taxes, wages and deductions, and report independent contractors.


Source: Farmers’ Legal Action Group | Type: Reference
Comprehensive guide to federal and MN state labor and employment law, including payroll tax requirements, workplace safety, recordkeeping and workers compensation.


Source: NCAT/ATTRA & CA FarmLink | Type: Reference
A well-organized, comprehensive guide for CA farmers to understand the federal and state laws pertaining to labor, apprentices, and interns.

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Workers' Compensation Insurance

Benefits of workers’ comp, what to do in case of an injury, and how to file a claim with your employer.


Source: CA Dept. of Industrial Relations | Type: Info Sheet
Basic factsheet for new-hires explaining what workers’ compensation is, what the benefits are, and what to do in case of an injury.


Source: CA Dept. of Industrial Relations | Type: Info Sheet
Basic factsheet for employers explaining why they needs workers' compensation insurance, what to do if an employee is injured, and how to report fraud.


Source: CA Dept. of Industrial Relations | Type: Info Sheet
Form employees complete to file a workers’ compensation claim.


Source: NCAT/ATTRA & CA FarmLink | Type: Reference
A well-organized, comprehensive guide for CA farmers to understand the federal and state laws pertaining to labor, apprentices, and interns.

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