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Farmworker advocates highlight heat safety protections as summer temperatures rise

Rising summer temperatures across the Coachella Valley put renewed emphasis on the importance of heat safety precautions, especially for the most vulnerable populations, such as farmworkers.

As many as 2,000 workers die and 170,000 workers are injured from laboring in extreme heat every year in the United States, according to a new report by the national non-profit organization Public Citizen.

The organization has also found that Latino workers are three times more likely to die of heat stress. Latinos account for a third of construction workers and 75% of farmworkers in the U.S., the two jobs with the highest rate of heat fatalities.

For years, Todec Legal Center, which has an office in Coachella, has worked to help educate farmworkers to know their rights, as well as offer resources and tools to avoid heat-related illness and death while on the job.

News Channel 3 accompanied Todec staff during a visit to a farm in Mecca on Monday morning to experience first-hand what their outreach focuses on and how its received by local farmworkers. Staff handed out informational packets, water, cooling towels, and hats.

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Jennifer Franco

Jennifer Franco is the weekend anchor/weekday reporter for KESQ News Channel 3


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