No matter where Arizona employers get their employees from, equipment and safety training should be well developed, using trainers who make sure employees understand how equipment and tools work. While watching videos on how to work with equipment and how safety should be conducted, in-coming employees should also use these same tools and equipment while training, and while under supervision, before stepping into their jobs as a hired worker.
If an employer is looking for a certain output goal to be met each day, workers must know how to achieve that goal, safely and efficiently. This is particularly true in manual labor jobs, such as construction, concrete and foundation jobs, timber, excavation, mining, and more. Farming also falls under this same need for suitable training in the tools and equipment to be used on the job.
The farming industry relies more and more on leasing convicts to help with farming needs, now that it is illegal to hire help from across the borders. The use of convict labor has gone on for many decades and still occurs today, where convicts work for less than the standard wages (roughly at $3 to $4 per hour) that most people get for their work. Sometimes, the wages are used to cover prison expenses of caring for these convicts and for victim restitution programs.
As convicts are not considered true employees, they do not receive labor protections from a number of passed acts, such as the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, Federal Tort Claims Act, and more. Such leasing of convicts to work in the fields creates opportunities for bringing in more money for state governments as well as the employer. They are also not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits either, although there is some medical care available within the prison system.
Of concern is that convict workers are not being trained well enough to work effectively and safely with farm tools and machinery that help them do their jobs. At what point does the importance of effective training in safety and machinery use become important enough for convicts as well?
When convicts get injured, then they must go back into the prison system and not work because they have lost an arm, a leg, or some other appendage that makes them useless in the workforce. Doing office work of some sort may be available. Otherwise, injured convicts become useless and a burden on society. Ensuring proper safety training means that there is less likelihood of injuries occurring, and the job is completed effectively.
Arizona’s Department of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) is now looking into Hickman’s Egg Farm after several inmates have been seriously injured, according to the Phoenix New Times online. At this time, it is still unclear as to what happened in each of these events of injuries. The situation does stress, regardless, that effective safety training should be available for all workers, regardless of their status. As convicts are not considered employees, their accidents are not reported to the state like the injuries of regular Arizona workers.
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