Workshop addresses worker safety during wildfire, smoke, heat emergencies

Ismael Castro, Rosa Vasquez, Jesse Loren, Suzanne Teran, Anne Kattan, Cecilia Guevara Langberg, Al Vallecillo, Leticia Quirarte, Ramon Altamirano at Turkovich Family Wines for the workshop. (Courtesy photo)

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Winters Hispanic Advisory Committee & Winters Community Corazón
Special to the Express

Many residents of Winters and the surrounding community work outdoors and continue to do so during times of wildfire, smoke, and heat emergencies. When working in these conditions, one must be aware of on how to maintain their personal safety. The Winters Hispanic Advisory Committee (HAC) and the Winters Community Corazón foundation (WCC) joined with California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation (CRLAF) to sponsor a workshop on the evening of Wednesday, July 20, at the Turkovich Winery Event Center, to inform attendees about how to maintain their safety when working in these conditions.

The workshop covered two topics: personal safety and workers’ rights. Suzanne Teran, Director of the University of California Berkley Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP) presented information regarding personal safety and worker’s rights. Information was provided on general safety conditions for working outdoors and in times of emergency conditions.

Teran’s talk provided information on the amount of water required to remain adequately hydrated, and how sufficient water and shade should be provided by an employer. In addition, workshop participants learned which types of masks provide protection from smoke and that cloth is not effective. In addition, if an emergency should arise, information was provided on how to identify and administer aid for a coworker who is suffering exposure to sun or heat exhaustion.

Cecilia Guevara Langberg, labor attorney with CRLAF, discussed with workers their rights in relation to different levels of pay, dependent upon hours worked in a day versus over a week. In addition, participants were informed on how much overtime pay is required under various circumstances. Also discussed were what qualifies as reimbursable expense in terms of equipment and the differences between hourly paid work and piece-rate work.

WCC plans to make videos of the presentations available on its website soon for individuals wishing to have the information provided.

WCC is a foundation with the charitable purpose to coordinate, support and augment the work of the Winters Hispanic Advisory Committee towards improving communication, representation, motivation, education, and integration of the community using philanthropy to support programs within the Winters Latinx community and build bridges across the community of Winters as a whole.

For more information about WCC or about how to get involved, contact

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